The Labor Department reported early Friday that U.S. employers added 209,000 jobs in July, slightly below analysts’ expectations but still firmly within the range considered to be indicative of a jobs expansion. The official unemployment rate increased to 6.2 percent from 6.1 percent in June as slightly more Americans re-entered the workforce.

Job growth was fairly broad in July, with gains in business services (+47,000), manufacturing (+28,000), retail (+27,000), and construction (+22,000) leading the way. Other major industries like healthcare, transportation, government, and leisure and hospitality were flat in July.

Wages were also flat, with average hourly earnings edging up by 1 cent to $24.45. Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings have risen by 2.0 percent. In July, average hourly earnings of private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees increased by 4 cents to $20.61.

The Labor Department also revised previously announced job numbers from May and June upward by a total of 15,000 over the two months.

Over the first seven months of 2014, monthly job growth has averaged nearly 230,000. Since February, the monthly average has been  244,0000, the best six-month average since the recession ended. July also marked the sixth-straight month where job growth has been above 200,000. The last time that happened was during the dot-com and information system hiring boom in 1997.

With the revisions to May and June, average monthly job growth in the second quarter of 2014 hit 277,000, up from 190,000 in the first quarter.


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