U.S. job growth likely cooled a bit in July, but retained enough momentum to suggest the economy remained on solid ground.
Nonfarm payrolls probably increased by 233,000, according to a Reuters survey of economists. That would be a pull back from June’s hefty 288,000 job gain and the monthly average of 272,000 jobs added in the second quarter.
Still, it would mark the sixth straight month that employment has expanded by more than 200,000 jobs, a stretch last seen in 1997. The unemployment rate likely held at a six year-low of 6.1 percent, but could surprise on the downside after surveys showed Americans becoming more upbeat about jobs.
“As long as we have job growth going in the right direction and the labor market tightening up, we are still in a good place,” said Robert Dye, chief economist at Comerica in Dallas
The economy grew at a 4.0 percent annual pace in the second quarter after shrinking at a 2.1 percent rate in the first three months of year. While restocking by businesses lifted the figure, growth is seen remaining sturdy for the rest of 2014.
The Labor Department will release its employment report, which is closely watched by financial markets around the globe, at 8:30 a.m. EDT (1230 GMT) on Friday.
It is set to garner even more attention in the months ahead, as investors seek to gauge when the Federal Reserve is likely to raise benchmark interest rates from near zero, where they have been since December 2008.
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