U.S. job growth continues, but at a slower pace

Job growth continues in the United States, but at a slightly slower pace.

According to the latest Department of Labor estimates, nonfarm payrolls increased 209,000 in July and the unemployment rate edged up a tenth of a point to 6.2 percent.

The July gained extended to six months a string of consecutive payroll increases over 200,000, the longest stretch since the 1990s.

The July gain was also smaller, though, than June and May. The initial estimate for June was revised upward 10,000 to 298,000, while the initial May estimated was revised upward 5,000 to 229,000. Over the past year, payroll gains have averaged 209,000 a month.

Still, the number of people counted among those who’ve been out of work 27 weeks or longer was little changed in July at 3.2 million. Another 7.5 million were counted among those working part-time because their hours had been cut back or they were unable to find full-time employment.

For July, payroll gains were spread out among several industry sectors. Professional and business services added 47,000 net new jobs, while employment increased 28,000 in manufacturing and 27,000 in retail trades. Construction payrolls grew 22,000, while employment increased 18,000 in social assistance and 8,000 in mining.

The average workweek for employees on private, nonfarm payrolls rose remained unchanged at 34.5 hours for a fifth straight month. The average manufacturing workweek fell two-tenths of an hour to 40.9 hours.

Average hourly earnings for employees on private, nonfarm payrolls edged up a cent to $24.45. Over the past year, average hourly earnings have increased 2 percent.