U.S. nonfarm payrolls declined for the sixth straight month, falling in line with expectations by a total of 62k jobs in June, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics on Thursday. May's jobs figure was revised to a loss of 62k jobs from an initially reported loss of 49k jobs.

The unemployment rate remained at 5.5% following the half-percentage point surge in the rate last month.

Nonfarm payrolls were expected to fall by 60k jobs in the month, with expectations ranging from -20k to -130k jobs. Also, economists expected the unemployment rate to have overshot last month and to come back down slightly to 5.4%.



So far this year, the U.S. economy has shed 438k jobs.

Average hourly earnings rose 0.3% from May, while the average weekly hours worked remained at 33.7.

Total private jobs lost 91k in the month, with the goods-producing sector losing 69k, construction falling by 43k, and manufacturing losing 33k. The business services sector lost 51k jobs, while the financial sector also saw a loss of 10k.

Positive gains were seen in education and health, which posted a 29k gain, leisure and hospitality, which advanced 24k, and government jobs, which increased by 29k.

Total employment fell by 155k to 145.9 million. The employment-population ratio fell to 62.4% from 62.6%.

The civilian labor force fell by 144k to 154.4 million in June, and the labor force participation rate edged up down 66.1 percent.

Released at the same time, initial jobless claims surged well above expectations to 404k in the week ending June 28, marking the fourth consecutive week claims have been above 380k. Continuing claims fell back slightly, but have still been above the 3 million mark for eight weeks now.

By Patrick McGee and edited by Cristina Markham