Economy gaining steam; US job figures best in five months and N.J. is catching up

Trenton (Jun 6)  The better-than-expected U.S. job numbers released Friday echoed positive trends in New Jersey and boosted confidence that the economy in the state, and the nation, is on track, economists said.

U.S. employers added 280,000 jobs in May, according to Labor Department figures, the highest in five months, after a first-quarter slump many economists blamed on the harsh winter. Hourly wages, which have barely budged even as jobs grew, rose 0.3 percent from the previous month, the biggest increase since August 2014. Unemployment edged up to 5.5 percent from 5.4 percent in April, as more people entered the workforce.

University of Michigan economist Justin Wolfers reacted to the report by tweeting, “It’s increasingly likely that the economy will be in a sweet spot, humming along near full employment” by Election Day 2016.