U.S. hiring cooled in July after more-robust gains than previously reported, while the unemployment rate slipped back below 4 percent and wage increases remained subdued, reinforcing a picture of steady labor-market growth in line with the Federal Reserve’s outlook for gradual interest-rate hikes.
Non-farm payrolls advanced 157,000 after an upwardly revised 248,000 increase, Labor Department figures showed Friday. The median estimate of analysts surveyed by Bloomberg was for a gain of 193,000 jobs. Average hourly earnings increased 2.7 percent from a year earlier, unchanged from June and matching projections, while the jobless rate ticked down to 3.9 percent as forecast.
Healthy consumer spending and business investment, supported by tax cuts and a bump in federal spending this year, are resulting in job gains that continue to be more than sufficient to accommodate population growth in the 10th year of the economic expansion. While the data mark a solid start to the quarter and should keep the Fed on track for an interest-rate hike in September, a widening trade war threatens to curb growth in the labor market.
Read more in Bloomberg.