US jobless rate ticks down to 3.9 percent

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The Labor Departments monthly jobs report will be released at 8:30 a.m.

The US economy continued to create jobs in July but at a slower pace, while the tighter labor markets drove the unemployment rate back to near-record lows, the government reported Friday.

Job gains were seen in the durable goods manufacturing and health care sectors as well as in restaurants and bars.

The jobless rate had risen in June from an 18-year low of 3.8 percent in May. Wages have remained in a holding pattern below the highs of the last expansion, despite persistent complaints from employers that they're struggling to find skilled workers and job openings near a record high. There are about 6.6 million unfilled jobs in the country. Average hourly earnings rose by seven cents to $27.05, the bureau report said.

Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult men (3.4%) and Whites (3.4%) declined in July. (With revisions, it was 224,000, compared with 184,000 in the same period last year and 181,000 in 2016.) "It is awesome that at this point in a recovery you are seeing growth that is on average faster than the previous two years", she said.

USA employment has risen for 94 consecutive months, the longest jobs-expansion streak on record. The year-over-year gain is unchanged at 2.7 percent.

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The overall recent surge of job gains may reflect, in part, confidence among some businesses that the Trump administration's tax cuts will accelerate growth - even though a growing roster of economic experts disagree with that assumption. Politically sensitive trade gaps with China, Mexico and Canada all increased, potentially setting the stage for even more sabre-rattling tweets from President Trump. Retail was also sluggish, with 7,000 job gains.

Economists forecast that employers added 193,000 nonfarm payrolls on net last month, according to a Bloomberg survey.

"Small business owners are continuing to show that they're looking to hire and willing to pay more to hire the right employees", NFIB Chief Economist William C. Dunkelberg said.

"While this increased employment is undoubtedly good news, job growth exacerbates the monumental manufacturing workforce shortage", she said.

The BLS figures contrast with those of payroll services firm ADP Inc., whose employment report issued August 1 stated that USA private sector employment increased by 219,000 jobs in July.