U.S. payroll gains top 200,000 for second straight month

Payroll gains have topped 200,000 for a second consecutive month as job growth continues in the United States.

According to Labor Department estimates, nonfarm payrolls grew 209,000 in July with hiring spread across a number of industry sectors. That follows an even bigger increase of 231,000 in June.

The unemployment rate edged down a tenth of a point to 4.3 percent.

Initial estimates for payroll gains in May were revised downward 7,000 to 145,000. But the estimate for June was revised upward 9,000. Payrolls have grown an average of 195,000 a month over the past three months and 184,000 a month so far this year.

Still, the ranks of people counted among those unsuccessfully looking for work was little changed in July at 7 million. Of those, 1.8 million have been out of work 27 weeks or longer. Another 5.3 million people were counted among those working part time because their hours had been cut or they’ve been unable to find full-time positions.

The labor force participation rate edged up a tenth of a point to 62.9 percent.

Job gains were spread out in July among  several industry sectors. Employment in food services and drinking places rose 53,000. Professional and business services added 49,000 jobs. Health care payrolls increased 39,000. Employment in mining grew 1,000.

The average workweek for employees on private, nonfarm payrolls remained unchanged in July at 34.5 hours. The manufacturing workweek edged up a tenth of an hour to 40.9 hours.

Average hourly earnings on private, nonfarm payrolls rose 9 cents to $26.36. Over the past year, average hourly earnings have increased 65 cents, or 2.5 percent.