Unemployment Drops to Lowest Rate in 16 Years

(CN) — Employers across the United States added 209,000 jobs in July, pushing the nation’s jobless rate to its lowest level in 16 years.

The Labor Department said Friday that the unemployment rate dropped to 4.3 percent, down from 4.4 percent in May.

However, despite the strong job market, the growth in American paychecks remains anemic. According to the government, average hourly pay rose by 2.5 percent from a year earlier, the same annual pace as in June.

That’s well below the 3.5 percent to 4 percent that is typical when the unemployment rate is this low.

Hiring was particularly strong in restaurants and hotels in July, with the sector adding 53,400 jobs.

The education and health care sectors gained 54,000 jobs, while manufacturing saw an increase of 16,000 jobs.

Professional and business services, which includes mostly higher-paying jobs such as engineers, accountants and architects, added 49,000.

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