The U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics Friday morning said that the U.S. economy added 163,000 jobs in July, more than analysts’ expected and a sharp improvement over the past two months. But the official unemployment rate ticked up to 8.3 percent from 8.2 percent in June.
Non-farm payrolls increased by 163,000 net jobs in July, the largest gain since February. After a dismal second quarter for job growth, the first reading for the third quarter was more in line with the first quarter’s impressive growth.
The professional and business services sector was the big winner in the month, adding 49,000 jobs. Employment at food service and drinking places increased 29,000 in the month will manufacturing added 25,000 jobs.
Utilities employment declined by 8,000 in July. The decrease reflects 8,500 utility workers who were off payrolls due to a labor-management dispute.
One disconcerting note in the report is the continued increase in alternative measures of unemployment. Specifically, the U-6 measure — which counts everyone who has stopped looking for work or is working part time against their wishes — increased slightly to 15 percent in July. That marks the fourth-straight month of small upticks in the U-6, often referred to by economists as the “real” unemployment rate.