Ball State University economist Michael Hicks says the latest national jobs report from the U.S. Department of Labor indicates increased optimism among workers. He calls the June numbers "solid," pointing to an increase in labor force participation and only a slight rise in the unemployment rate to 4.4 percent.
More than 360,000 workers came to the labor force last month, which Hicks calls "another indicator of stronger labor markets." Hicks, who serves as director of the Ball State Center for Business and Economic Research, says he expects good GDP growth in the second quarter on the strength of an average of around 200,000 jobs added per month over the three-month period.
"The composition of jobs was strong, with every sector but information and nondurable goods manufacturing adding jobs over the month," Hicks said. "Manufacturing also added jobs in June, signaling continued strength in that sector."
Some 222,000 jobs were added in June and labor force participation now stands at 62.8 percent nationwide.