U.S. employers added 157,000 jobs in July, the Labor Department reported Friday. The total was less than the 194,000 economists polled by MarketWatch expected, but enough to nudge the unemployment rate down to 3.9 percent from 4 percent, near an 18-year low.
The July figure was considered solid but it was down from 248,000 added jobs in June, a figure adjusted up from an initial report of 213,000. Strong spending by consumers and businesses is boosting growth and increasing demand for workers across the economy, and the tightening job market has been slowly pushing wages higher, too. Average wages rose by 7 cents or 0.3 percent to $27.05 per hour, and yearly pay rate increases remained unchanged at 2.7 percent.
U.S. stock futures pared early gains after the report. Harold Maass