July Jobs Report: Payrolls Rise 157,000 and Unemployment Rate Drops to 3.9%

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The unemployment rate in the United States dropped to 3.9% in July from 4% in June.

The economy added 157,000 jobs in July, which was almost 30,000 less than expected.

The monthly jobs report showed unemployment declined to 3.9, down 0.1 percent from June.

Despite many businesses' trouble finding qualified workers, they are still hiring and looking outside traditional pools for talent.

"Congress and the administration have taken important steps in recent weeks to tackle this challenge, but this jobs report is a reminder that more work needs to be done through partnerships with the private sector to solve the workforce crisis", she said.

Among the unemployed, the number of people looking for work after losing or quitting their jobs fell by almost 290,000 to 1.8 million.

The report missed most analysts' expectations.

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

White unemployment also dropped in July-to 3.4 percent-a rate unseen since the Yankees and Mets faced off in the World Series finale (October 2000).

"Homebuyers should feel a bit more confident today after the Bureau of Labor Statistics' employment situation report for July stated that the unemployment rate edged down", Mark Fleming, chief economist at First American, said in a press release. Typically, when unemployment has fallen below 4 per cent in the past, wages have increased at a faster pace. The White House has slapped tariffs on steel and aluminum and on $34 billion of imports from China, and several companies have hit US imports with retaliatory duties.

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. The year-over-year gain is unchanged at 2.7 percent. Politically sensitive trade gaps with China, Mexico and Canada all increased, potentially setting the stage for even more sabre-rattling tweets from President Trump. Retail payrolls rebounded by 7,100 jobs last month after losing 20,200 in June.

Sectors that didn't fare as well included financial services, government and transportation, all of which lost jobs.

Homebuyers are encountering higher mortgage rates, one reason that the housing market has been faltering lately even as other economic indicators like hiring have remained strong, as evidenced by the upward revisions for May and June.

Total nonfarm payrolls increased by 157,000 for the month, below the 190,000 expected in a Reuters survey of economists and the lowest gain since March.