Employers in the U.S. added more than 200,000 jobs for a sixth straight month in July, the longest such period since 1997 and a sign of growing optimism about the economic outlook.
The 209,000 advance followed a 298,000 gain in June that was stronger than previously reported, figures from the Labor Department showed today in Washington. The median forecast in a Bloomberg survey of economists called for a 230,000 increase. The jobless rate climbed to 6.2 percent from 6.1 percent in June as more people entered the labor force. Wages and hours were unchanged from June.
The degree of hiring this year may help trigger a self-reinforcing cycle of gains in spending and job opportunities that will spur the economy. While the labor market has improved, Federal Reserve policy makers this week said they will keep interest rates low until wages accelerate and more discouraged workers find jobs.