The latest jobs figures have been released — and the exciting news is that the U.S. economy added 209,000 jobs in July, less than the 298,000 new jobs created in June, but still a decent figure and significantly more than July last year when 149,000 jobs were added, or July 2012 when 160,000 were added.
As the American Enterprise Institute's James Pethokoukis points out, this was the first time since 1997 that the economy added 200,000 jobs for six straight months.
The bad news is that unemployment rose to 6.2 percent. But this is more positive than it looks — as FiveThirtyEight's Ben Casselman points out, 200,000 people who had dropped out of the labor force started looking again for jobs, suggesting a deepening sense of economic optimism.
The jobs figures show pretty much the same picture as the private survey by ADP that showed the U.S. economy added 210,000 jobs in July, solidifying the picture that the economic recovery continues to strengthen in spite of the ongoing tapering by the Federal Reserve and the ongoing geopolitical turmoil worldwide.