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US unemployment rate ticks up as job growth slows

Job growth in the US has expanded for the sixth consecutive month but at a slower pace than before. As more people sought to re-enter employment in July, the US jobless rate went up as well.

Non-farm payrolls in the United States added 209,000 jobs in July after expanding by 298,000 in June, the

US Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics said Friday


According to the US data, job growth in the world's biggest economy exceeded 200,000 for the sixth month in a row - the longest stretch since 1997.

However, the US unemployment rate ticked up by one tenth of a percentage point, rising from

6.1 percent in June

to 6.2 percent in July.

This is because more Americans, who had previously not been looking for employment, sought new jobs. That is reflected in the labor force participation rate, which increased to 62.9 percent in the month after remaining steady at 62.8 percent in the three previous months.

Overall, 146.4 million Americans were employed in July, while 9.7 million were officially registered as jobless.

The three sectors that contributed most to the US employment growth in the month were services industries, up by 140,000 jobs, manufacturing which added 28,000 jobs and the retail sector where employment rose by 27,000.

Nevertheless, the jobs increase in July may have been more than expected by analysts, who predicted payrolls would rise by 233,000 in a poll carried out by Reuters news agency.

The apparent cooling in US hiring might also change perceptions about ongoing robust growth in the economy as a whole. In the second quarter of this year,

the US economy rebounded strongly rising an annualized 4 percent

compared with a contraction of 2.1 percent in the first quarter.

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In addition, slower job creation could affect the US central bank's decision about when to raise interest rates again. The US Fed has cut its rates to a historic low of close to zero percent in the wake of the financial crisis. Most analysts believe it could increase them again in mid-2015 if the economy continues to improve.

uhe/cjc (Reuters, dpa)

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