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WASHINGTON (AFP) – The U.S. unemployment rate fell to a better-than-expected 7.4 percent in July from 7.6 percent in June but jobs growth disappointed, official data released Friday showed.

The Labor Department reported the United States added 162,000 jobs last month, well below the 175,000 expected on average by analysts.

The decline in the jobless rate was twice as big as the estimated one-tenth point drop to 7.5 percent.

At 7.4 percent, the jobless rate is the lowest since December 2008, when it was 7.3 percent, a Labor Department official said.

It was markedly better than in July 2012, when the jobless rate stood at 8.2 percent.

The department downwardly revised jobs growth for the prior two months by a combined 26,000.

The June figure was revised to 188,000 jobs from 195,000, and the May reading was revised to 176,000 from 195,000.

Photo Credit: AFP/Karen Bleier

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US Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi wants her Democrats to push through trillions of dollars worth of investments in infrastructure and social service programs before a self-imposed deadline of September 30, 2021

Washington (AFP) - House Speaker Nancy Pelosi expressed confidence a massive infrastructure bill will pass this week but acknowledged it would not get a Monday vote as planned, with fellow Democrats warning critical work remains to meet the party's deadlines.

Democrats have been scrambling to hammer out a landmark plan to upgrade the nation's roads and bridges, but are also under immense pressure to finalize a $3.5 trillion public investment package and fund the government to avert a looming shutdown -- all by September 30.

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