US economy adds 163,000 new jobs
US firms hired an extra 163,000 workers in July, according to
official figures, beating economists' forecasts.
However, the unemployment rate rose from 8.2% to 8.3% last
month, as more people re-entered the workforce but failed to find a
The US Department of Labor also said 6,000 fewer jobs were
created in May and June than first estimated.
The US economy has to generate 100,000 new jobs a month just to
stand still, according to the Federal Reserve.
The total number of unemployed people was 12.8 million last
month, unchanged from June.
Private sector firms hired an extra 172,000 staff, which more
than offset the 9,000 fall in government payrolls.
The figures were better than most economists had forecast.
"We are not seeing large-scale layoffs, so job destruction is
pretty limited," said Scott Brown, chief economist at Raymond James
There were also signs that Americans were optimistic about
finding a job. The number of discouraged workers - people not
looking for work because they believe there are no jobs - fell
267,000 to 852,000.
The number of involuntary part-time workers, those whose hours
have been cut back or who could not find full-time jobs, was
unchanged at 8.2 million.
Faltering economic recovery?
Last week, official data showed the US economy grew at an annual
rate of 1.5% in the second three months of the year, that was
slower than the 2% pace at the start of 2012.
On Wednesday, the Federal Reserve said its programme to reduce
long-term borrowing costs for firms and households would continue
for the rest of the year.
Under Operation Twist, the Fed buys long-term bonds from retail
lenders and swaps them for shorter-term bonds.
But it disappointed some investors by not announcing any fresh
measures to stimulate economic growth.
The Fed has kept base interest rates at close to zero for nearly
four years and pumped $2.3bn into the economy.