WASHINGTON — The United States added a better-than-expected 195,000 jobs in June, and job growth in prior months was revised higher, official data released Friday showed.
The unemployment rate held steady at 7.6 percent as the number of people in the work force continued to rise, the Labor Department said.
The jobs gain in June was better than the average monthly increase of 182,000 over the last year, and well above the analyst consensus estimate of 166,000 jobs.
The jobless rate had been expected to remain at 7.6 percent.
In a further encouraging sign of improvement in the labor market, the Labor Department revised April and May jobs numbers higher, saying the combined gains in those months were 70,000 higher than previously estimated.
The private sector continued to drive job growth in the world's largest economy, adding 202,000 positions.
The government shed 7,000 jobs, 5,000 of them at the federal level, in part reflecting the ongoing sequester spending cuts that began on March 1.
The most robust job growth -- 75,000 new jobs -- was in the leisure and hospitality sector, which has been making a strong comeback over the past 12 months amid a modest economic expansion.
In that sector, 5200 jobs were added in food services and drinking places, the department said.
Other leading gains were in professional and business services, up 53,000 jobs, retail trade (+37,000), health care (+20,000) and financial activities (+17,000).
The number of people unemployed was 11.8 million, up a slight 17,000 from May.
In the private sector, the average workweek remained unchanged in June at 34.5 hours, while the average hourly earnings rose 10 cents, to $24.01. Over the past 12 months, it has increased by 51 cents, or 2.2 percent.
Bond yields shot up after the data was announced on the prospect that steady jobs growth will lead the Federal Reserve to tighten its easy-money policy sooner than has been expected.
The 10-year Treasury, a key benchmark for commercial interest rates, rocketed to 2.70 percent from 2.51 percent, its highest level since mid-2011.