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US Sees Strong Job Growth, Drop in Unemployment in July

  • Jim Randle

A handwritten hiring sign is posted outside a local drugstore in Solana Beach, California, July 17, 2017.

The U.S. economy had a net gain of 209,000 jobs in July, while the unemployment rate fell slightly to 4.3 percent. That matches the lowest jobless rate in 16 years.

Friday's Labor Department report says job gains were seen in restaurants, business services and health care. The average hourly wage rose nine cents an hour in July, to reach $26.36. That is up 65 cents over the past year, or growth at a 2.5 percent rate.

Boosting Labor Participation Rate for Women Key to Healthy Economy

The chief economist for the job search company "Indeed" says slow wage growth may reflect job gains in low-paying areas like food service. Jed Kolko also says the job gains are well above what is needed to keep up with growth in the workforce.

While Friday's newest government unemployment report shows strong job growth and rising wages, it also shows 7 million Americans out of work and another 5.3 million who want full-time work but can only find part-time employment.

On Twitter Friday, President Donald Trump called the official government job numbers "Excellent" and wrote that cutting regulations helped job growth.

During the campaign, when the official jobless rate was around 5 percent, candidate Trump called the job numbers "phony" and said they should not be believed. Back then, he insisted that the actual unemployment rate was far higher, perhaps as high as 42 percent.

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