Unemployment down; hiring slows

National News

August 4, 2018 - 4:00 AM

WASHINGTON (AP) — Employers pulled back on hiring in July, but the job gains were still enough to lower the U.S. unemployment rate a tick to 3.9 percent from 4 percent.

Employers added 157,000 jobs last month, a modest gain, the Labor Department said Friday. That’s below the 215,000 average for the first seven months this year, but economists said the decline will likely prove temporary.

Consumers are spending freely and businesses are stepping up their investment in buildings and equipment, accelerating growth. That’s raising demand for workers in industries ranging from manufacturing to construction to health care. The economy expanded at a 4.1 percent annual rate in the April-June quarter, the strongest showing in nearly four years.

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