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Nonfarm payrolls increased by 157,000 jobs last month, the Labor Department said on Friday.

The July decline in the unemployment rate lowered the jobless population by 284,000 to 6.3 million - with gains concentrated among men over 20-years-old.

July wasn't a stellar month for hiring in the US healthcare sector, with fewer jobs added in ambulatory care, hospitals and nursing facilities compared with a month earlier. An increase in the labor force participation rate in June pushed up the unemployment rate to 4% from the post-crisis low of 3.8% hit back in May.

But, as with small businesses, manufacturers are having trouble filling job openings, she said.

The somewhat disappointing result for the month obscures the very strong pace over the last three months, even as employers nationwide continue to complain about difficulty finding workers to fill open positions.

One theory for why wage growth is not picking up more is that many Americans gave up looking for jobs in the aftermath of the Great Recession, but people are now looking again as they see the strong job market.

As The New York Times noted, average hourly earnings also saw an uptick of seven cents. The unemployment rate for those without a high-school diploma fell to 5.1 percent, the lowest on record.

Following this latest solid jobs report, it remains likely that the US Federal Reserve will hike interest rates two more times in 2018.

But workers' average hourly paychecks grew tepidly from the previous month and are up just 2.7 percent compared to the same time past year. Typically, when unemployment has fallen below 4 per cent in the past, wages have increased at a faster pace.

President Donald Trump's administration has imposed duties on steel and aluminum imports, provoking retaliation by the United States' trade partners, including China, Canada, Mexico and the European Union. This refutes the notion that the slower overall gain in jobs for the month reflected the impact of tariffs. Hiring in dentists' offices was relatively flat, adding only 200 jobs last month.

The new figures show the labor market was not largely affected by the current trade war.

Construction boosted jobs by 19,000 following a 13,000 gain.

Sectors that didn't fare as well included financial services, government and transportation, all of which lost jobs.


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