Economy adds 157,000 jobs in July

US jobs growth slows more than expected in July

US jobs growth slows more than expected in July

The U.S. economy added 157,000 jobs, and unemployment fell slightly to 3.9 percent in July, the Labor Department reported Friday. Over the past year, it has hired more than a half-million Americans and stands as the leading job-creating sector.

The unemployment rate ticked down to 3.9 percent from 4 percent.

The new figures show the labor market was not largely affected by the current trade war.

"I've never seen such a steady stream of gains - there's no volatility in the numbers", said Ellen Zentner, chief US economist at Morgan Stanley.

There have also been concerns that the trade tensions could dampen business confidence and lead companies to shelve spending and hiring plans. Typically, when unemployment has fallen below 4 per cent in the past, wages have increased at a faster pace. But sporting goods, hobby, toy and game stores fell 32,000 - reflecting the closure in late June of all remaining United States stores in the Toys R Us chain.

"Average hourly earnings of all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose by seven cents in July to $27.05", Wiatrowski said in a statement.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics will release the July jobs report at 8:30 a.m. ET.

One signal that July was a strong month can be found in the low number of people filing for unemployment benefits for the first time.

Another month of sluggish wage gains could help cool fears the economy could be overheating but are unlikely to dissuade the Federal Reserve from raising interest rates next month for the third time this year.

Manufacturing continued the strong growth it has seen since the beginning of 2017. In the service sector, hiring of 118,000 was the lowest since December, partly reflecting the cuts at Toys "R" Us. Home health saw the most new hires within the ambulatory sector, adding 5,600 jobs.

"July of 2018 marked the second lowest number of unemployed Americans since before 9/11 in May of 2001 dropping to 6.28 million - 284,000 fewer than in the previous month", noted Rick Manning, president of Americans for Limited Government (GetLiberty.org).

The participation rate, or share of working-age people in jobs or actively looking, was unchanged at 62.9 percent.

Less educated workers have been the big gainers in terms of employment in the last few years of the recovery.

The employment-population ratio, another broad measure of labor-market health, rose to 60.5 percent, the highest since early 2009, from 60.4 percent. If the jobless rate drops to 3.7 percent or below, it would be the lowest unemployment rate since 1969.

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