USA employers add 157,000 jobs, jobless rate slips to 3.9 percent

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In July, the US economy added 157,000 jobs while the unemployment rate fell to 3.9%.

Manufacturing payrolls rose by 37,000 jobs last month after increasing by 33,000 in June.

The world's largest economy also had a net gain of 157,000 jobs, which is less than the monthly average so far this year. The Federal Reserve is closely watching the wages component as it seeks to meet its 2 percent inflation target.

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The somewhat disappointing result for the month obscures the very strong pace over the last three months, even as employers nationwide continue to complain about difficulty finding workers to fill open positions. In June, there was a surge in the number of people re-entering the labor force, while the number of those who gave up on their job searches fell. The idea that the labor market is becoming increasingly tilted to favor more educated workers does not appear to be supported by the employment data. Average hourly earnings rose by seven cents to $27.05, the bureau report said. With revisions, job gains have averaged 224,000 a month. Retail payrolls rebounded by 7,100 jobs last month after losing 20,200 in June.

"Small business owners are continuing to show that they're looking to hire and willing to pay more to hire the right employees", NFIB Chief Economist William C. Dunkelberg said.

The employment picture's been pretty rosy lately, with average job growth above 200,000 a month since mid-spring and more people coming back into the labor market.

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The Fed left interest rates unchanged on Wednesday while painting an upbeat portrait of both the labor market and economy. The unemployment rate is near its lowed point since 2000. Within social assistance, individual and family services added 16,000 jobs in July and 77,000 jobs over the year. That kept the annual increase in wages at 2.7% in July. Faucher writes that as that happens, job growth will slow down because businesses will find it more hard to recruit new hires. Mining, wholesale trade, transportation and warehousing, information and financial activities remained mostly flat, the BLS said.

"While this increased employment is undoubtedly good news, job growth exacerbates the monumental manufacturing workforce shortage", she said. A category called other ambulatory healthcare services dropped by 1,200 jobs, and offices of other healthcare practitioners lost 900 jobs.

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