Unemployment Rate Unchanged at 6.3%
June 06, 2014
Unemployment Rate Unchanged at 6.3% as 217,000 Jobs Added in May; U.S. Payrolls Reach New Highs
On the Hill
- Sens. John McCain (R-AZ) and Bernard Sanders (I-VT) announced a bipartisan, legislative response to the Veterans’ Affairs scandal on Thursday afternoon. Included in the bill are leases for 26 new VA medical facilities, authorization to hire new doctors and nurses, and the ability for veterans to get private care if they are experiencing long wait times or if they are more than 40 miles from a VA facility. It also allows for all veterans to receive in-state tuition at public colleges and universities and gives tuition aid to surviving spouses of soldiers who die in the line of duty. The measure is expected to cost less than $2 billion and is classified as an emergency appropriation, meaning that it would not have to be offset by budget cuts elsewhere. The bill has been backed by Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and likely will be brought to the Senate floor next week.
- The Senate Intelligence Committee, charged with reforming the NSA in the wake of the phone surveillance scandal, remains split one year after the Edward Snowden leaks. The committee is currently debating the House-passed USA Freedom Act, which is designed to end the government’s bulk collection of phone records and force the government to ask for the information directly from phone companies instead. All phone data collection abilities of the government expire with the USA Patriot Act next year.
- The unemployment rate remained unchanged at 6.3% as the economy added 217,000 jobs in May. Private service-producing jobs accounted for most of the gains. This follows a hiring surge in April, when 288,000 jobs were created, and is consistent with the market consensus. Average hourly earnings increased 0.2%. Total U.S. payrolls reached 138.5 million, exceeding the country’s previous peak level of employment set in January 2008.
- Amid a rise in U.S. home values and stock prices, American wealth increased roughly 2%, or about $1.5 trillion, between January and March to $81.8 trillion. This is the highest wealth increase on record according to a report released on Thursday by the Federal Reserve.
- Bank of America is in negotiations with the Justice Department to pay at least $12 billion to settle civil probes into the bank’s alleged handling of bad mortgages before the 2008 banking crisis. The bank, however, is being pressed to pay billions more than the $12 billion that it is offering. Bank of America has already settled with the Federal Housing Finance Agency for $6 billion for pre-crisis conduct and over $60 billion to settle lawsuits to buy back mortgage securities since the crisis. The $12 billion fine would exceed the firm’s 2013 profit of $11.43 billion and may surpass the record $13 billion settlement paid by J.P. Morgan last year.