The unemployment rate for Hispanic or Latino workers fell to 4.8% last month, the lowest level on records back to the 1970s. The rate for black Americans was 7.1%, the second-lowest monthly rate, bested only by April 2000’s 7% reading, according to the Labor Department. The decline in unemployment for blacks and Hispanics comes with a significant caveat: Both June lows are higher than the 3.8% rate for whites, and the 4.4% overall rate.
U.S. employers picked up their pace of hiring in June. Nonfarm payrolls rose by a seasonally adjusted 222,000 from the prior month, the Labor Department said. The unemployment rate ticked up to 4.4% from 4.3% the prior month as more people joined the workforce. Average hourly earnings for private-sector workers rose 2.5% in June, little changed from prior months. In one positive sign, the average workweek rose by 0.1 hour to 34.5 hours.
Tesla Inc. shares took a beating on Wednesday after several analysts questioned whether customer demand for its two electric vehicles is waning as the company begins producing a cheaper sedan. The Silicon Valley auto maker’s shares fell nearly 5% in midday trading to $335.74—the lowest point in more than a month—after rising about 69% this year through last week on enthusiasm for the coming Model 3 sedan, which is central to Tesla’s plan to sharply increase total sales. Tesla on Monday reported sales of its Model S cars and Model X sport-utility vehicles were lower than analysts expected because of a supply issue with battery packs, raising new fears the company will have trouble meeting ambitious production targets for the Model 3.
The strongest reading on U.S. factory activity in nearly three years signaled underlying health in the economy headed into the second half of 2017. The Institute for Supply Management on Monday said its index of U.S. manufacturing activity rose to 57.8 in June, its highest level since August 2014. A number above 50 indicates expansion; economists had expected a more modest rise from May’s 54.9.
The U.S. economic expansion remains on track as it prepares to enter its ninth year. Gross domestic product, a broad measure of the goods and services produced across the U.S. economy, expanded at a seasonally and inflation-adjusted annual rate of 1.4% in the first quarter, the Commerce Department reported Thursday.