U.S. adds jobs, unemployment rises in July

by Nickalas Tabbert

The U.S. economy added the most jobs since February last month, but unemployment numbers raised as well, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Employers added 163,000 jobs in July, far above the 64,000 added in June, the Labor Department said Friday. Manufacturing and restaurants added temporary workers, a sign they expect more business.

Stocks rose, ending a four-day decline for the Standard and Poor’s 500 index, as the report eased concerns that the three-year economic expansion is faltering, Bloomberg reported.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 221 points, or 1.7 percent, to 13,101 in midmorning trading, its highest level since early May.

Faster job growth is needed to push down an unemployment rate stuck above 8 percent since February 2009, one reason why the Federal Reserve said early this week it will “closely monitor” the economy and “will provide additional accommodation as needed to promote a stronger economic recovery and sustained improvement in labor market conditions.”

“Today’s numbers are better but not good enough,” said Brian Jones, a senior U.S. economist for Societe Generale SA in New York.  She predicted payrolls would rise by 165,000.

The unemployment rate remains a concern after it increased from 8.2 percent to 8.3 percent.  Employment dipped by nearly 200,000 and the ranks of the jobless rose 45,000, the WSJ reported.

In a worrying sign, the unemployment rate rose even though America’s population grew and more citizens left the labor force –both things that for government statisticians push down unemployment.

“We’re treading water,” said Stephen Stanley, chief economist at Pierpont Securities. “We’re not falling down, but we’re also not making up any ground. We’re not getting any closer to a normal type of employment reading.”

The Fed’s policy makers next meet formally on Sept. 12 and 13.  They will study an additional jobs report before deciding whether to launch another major stimulus program.