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Unemployment rate drops, but hiring just muddling along - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Unemployment rate drops, but hiring just muddling along

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The U.S. economy created fewer jobs than expected in July, with the bulk of the them in areas, such as retail and restaurants, that typically are low-paying.

The Labor Department, in its widely watched jobs report, on Friday said non-farm employment rose by 162,000 and the unemployment rate slipped to 7.4 percent, the lowest in over four years. Gains in employment fueled some of that decline, but the labor force also shrank during the month, robbing some of the luster from the decline in the unemployment rate.

Employment increased in retail trade, food services and drinking places, financial activities and wholesale trade.

The jobs growth, which missed expectations of an increase of 183,000 jobs, was enough to show the labor market continues to expand, but at a sluggish pace.

A broader gauge of unemployment that includes the underemployed and those who have quit looking for work also fell, from 14.3 percent in June to 14 percent in July.

"The U.S. economy is grinding along for the better, but it's going to be a long and slow grind," Tanweer Akram, an economist at ING U.S. Investment Management in Atlanta, said ahead of the report.

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