Employers in the U.S. added more than 200,000 jobs for the sixth straight month in July, showing the world’s largest economy is making strides toward sustaining faster growth entering the sixth year of expansion. The jobless rate rose as growing confidence prompted more Americans to look for work.
The 209,000 advance followed a 298,000 gain in June that was stronger than initially reported, figures from the Labor Department showed today in Washington. The median forecast in a Bloomberg survey of economists called for a 230,000 increase. The jobless rate climbed to 6.2 percent from 6.1 percent, while wages and hours were unchanged from June.
The degree of hiring this year may help trigger a self- reinforcing cycle of gains in spending and job opportunities that will spur the economy. While the labor market has improved, Federal Reserve policy makers this week said they will keep interest rates low until wages accelerate and more discouraged workers find jobs.
“You now have six straight months of greater-than-200,000 job gains,” said Tom Porcelli, chief U.S. economist at RBC Capital Markets LLC in New York, whose 210,000 estimate was among the closest in the Bloomberg payrolls survey. “The labor force rose, and the labor force rises typically when people are feeling better about the backdrop.”
Payrolls estimates in the Bloomberg survey of economists ranged from increases of 160,000 to 310,000. Revisions to prior reports added a total of 15,000 jobs to overall payrolls in the previous two months.
Manufacturing expanded in July at the fastest pace in more than three years, showing factories will help power the economy after a second-quarter rebound, other data showed today. The Institute for Supply Management’s index increased to 57.1, the highest since April 2011, from 55.3 a month earlier, the Tempe, Arizona-based group’s reported. Readings above 50 indicate growth.
Stocks fluctuated as investors sifted through the data. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index rose 0.1 percent to 1,933.23 at 10:28 a.m. in New York.
Consumer spending rose in June by the most in three months, ending the quarter on a strong note and signaling that job growth will bolster the world’s largest economy, a Commerce Department report showed today.
Today’s employment report also showed average hourly earnings were unchanged at $24.45 in July. They were up 2 percent over the past 12 months. The average work week for all employees held at 34.5 hours.
Construction companies and factories were among those that added more to payrolls in July than a month earlier. Employment gains cooled at retailers, business services and education and health services.
The agency’s survey of households, used to derive the unemployment rate, showed more people entered the labor force. The so-called participation rate, which indicates the share of working-age people in the labor force, increased to 62.9 percent from 62.8 percent a month earlier, which matched the lowest since March 1978.
After 11 months of unemployment, Dennis Haffner, 47, started a new job this week. Haffner had $6.42 in his savings account and was staring down having to move back home to his parents’ house when he landed the position.
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