US economy added 215,000 jobs in July; unemployment 5.3 pct.
WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. employers added a solid 215,000 jobs in July, signaling a steadily rising job market and likely nudging the Federal Reserve closer to raising interest rates in September.
The Labor Department also said Friday that the unemployment rate held at a relatively low 5.3 percent for a second straight month.
Monthly job growth has averaged 211,286 so far this year, indicating that employers are confident that the six-year recovery from the Great Recession will sustain strong consumer demand and require more workers.
Hiring has remained robust even though the economy's overall growth rate has been subpar and pay raises have been modest for many workers. Average hourly earnings in July increased just 2.1 percent from a year earlier.
The economy grew at an anemic 1.5 percent annual rate in the first half of 2015 — nearly half a percentage point weaker than the average of the past three years.
Lower gasoline and oil prices have yet to provide the kind of boost they have in the past. Energy companies responded to oil of less than $50 a barrel by cutting orders for equipment and pipelines, causing many manufacturers to slow their hiring. And instead of spending their savings at the gasoline pump, consumers have mostly pocketed the additional cash.
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Posted on Fri, August 7, 2015
by Associated Press