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