US jobless rate drops to 3.9%. in July; 157,000 new jobs created

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Nonbank mortgage lenders and brokers employed 345,400 people during the month, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The Labor Department said the unemployment rate ticked down to 3.9 percent from 4 percent.

Health care and social assistance grew by 34,000 jobs, and food services and drinking places by 26,000 jobs, the report said.

Individual state unemployment data is not expected to be released until August 17.

The broadest measure of unemployment - including all workers forced into part-time jobs and those who have become discouraged in their search - fell three tenths to 7.5 percent, its lowest level since May 2001. There are about 6.6 million unfilled jobs in the nation.

America now has more jobs available that people considered unemployed.

Average hourly earnings increased by 7 cents, or 0.3 percent, to $27.05.

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Following this latest solid jobs report, it remains likely that the US Federal Reserve will hike interest rates two more times in 2018.

Wage gains were in-line with expectations, rising 0.3% over last month and 2.7% over past year. Typically, when unemployment has fallen below 4 per cent in the past, wages have increased at a faster pace.

Although the July hiring number fell below economists' expectations, the government revised the previous months' job gains by an additional 59,000. The White House has slapped tariffs on steel and aluminum and on $34 billion of imports from China, and several companies have hit USA imports with retaliatory duties.

Friday's report also included a revision to prior jobs reports, which now suggests the economy added 248,000 jobs in June, up from an initial report showing 213,000 new jobs were added to the economy. That kept the annual increase in wages at 2.7% in July. Economists were watching manufacturing closely for signs of a drag from the Trump administration's escalation of trade tensions with China and allies.

The gain in payrolls was concentrated at private employers, which added 170,000 jobs, while the public sector cut 13,000 positions.

Hiring in the goods-producing sector rose by 52,000, in line with its strong recent trend, while job growth in the service-providing sector moderated to 118,000 from outsized 182,000 and 204,000 gains in June and May, respectively.

"While this increased employment is undoubtedly good news, job growth exacerbates the monumental manufacturing workforce shortage", she said.

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