U.S. jobless rate dips on 117,000 payroll gain

Unemployment edged down in the United States in July as payrolls rose an estimated 117,000.

According to the latest statistical snapshot from the Labor Department, the jobless rate slipped a tenth to 9.1 percent.

Nonfarm payrolls increased 117,000 as private sector employment rose 154,000 and government employment fell 37,000.

What initially were estimated as meager payroll gains over the previous two months were revised upward — from 18,000 to 46,000 in June and 25,000 to 53,000 in May.

While the U.S. economy added an average of 215,000 jobs a month between February and April, job growth since has slowed to an average of 72,000 from May through July. Economists say more than 150,000 new jobs are needed each month to reduce unemployment.

For July, job gains were spread out among a number of industry sector with estimates increased of 31,000 in health care, 26,000 in retail trades, 24,000 in manufacturing and 9,000 in mining.

Elsewhere in the private sector, employment in the construction, financial activities, information, leisure and hospitality and transportation and warehousing sectors changed little.

Government employment continued to trend downward in July with a net loss of 23,000 in state government, nearly all of that related to a partial shutdown of the state government in Minnesota.

The average workweek for employees on private nonfarm payrolls remained unchanged at 34.3 hours. The average manufacturing workweek held steady at 40.3 hours.

Average hourly earnings for employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose 10 cents in July to $23.13. Average hourly earnings have increased 2.3 percent over the past year.