Accompanied by the customary cautionary note about analysis based on one month's figures, June's job creation rate, provided by the U.S. Department of Labor, should have provided Americans with a shaft of light Friday.
June produced a better-than-expected 222,000 new jobs, supplemented by an adjustment upward of 47,000 of April and May figures. Unemployment rose a tick, to 4.4 percent from 4.3 percent, but that is still low. Average hourly wages were up 2.5 percent from a year ago. Labor-force participation rose slightly, to 62.8 percent from 62.7 percent, even as some employers complained of difficulty in filling jobs. Inflation, a key factor for poor and middle-class people in the face of generally stagnant wages, remains under 2 percent.
Although it is too early to claim a "Trump bump" upward in the economy, June's figures, coupled with a robust stock market, should be seen as positive and cause for hope.
There are still shoes waiting to drop and a considerable number of issues with unknown or potentially negative longer-term impact. One of these is the paralysis in Washington on some very important issues, some in areas where President Donald Trump as a candidate promised action. There is no agreed-upon budget. Raising the national debt limit above $20 trillion will be contentious. The direction America will go on health care remains tortuously tangled.
Tax reform is somewhere over the rainbow. The promised job-creating infrastructure bill is nowhere in sight.
Also on the negative side is a slowdown in auto sales and the fact that the spurt in new jobs seems to have resulted partly from growth in public-sector employment rather than in the manufacturing and retail sectors generally watched for signs of economic health. The long-term employment impact of Trump's policies on immigration and American participation in international trade pacts has yet to become visible.
All in all, however, the job figures released on July 7 look good. Americans need some good news right now.