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"Job gains have been strong, on average, in recent months, and the unemployment rate has stayed low", the Fed said. That means the benefits of the recovery are starting to reach lower-skilled, lower-income workers.

Martha Gimbel, director of economic research for the job board Indeed, said the job growth was "amazing".

Economists have warned, however, that the tit-for-tat import duties threatened or imposed by the U.S. and China, which have unsettled financial markets, could undercut manufacturing through disruptions to the supply chain and put a brake on the strong economic growth.

Despite many businesses' trouble finding qualified workers, they are still hiring and looking outside traditional pools for talent.

The category of sporting goods, hobby, book and music stores lost 31,800 jobs, a decline probably tied to 33,000 job losses at shuttered retailer Toys "R" Us Inc. The consensus on Wall Street calls for the central bank to raise rates twice more this year, in September and December. The current wage gains are barely enough to cover the rising costs of food and housing for many Americans.

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.


An increase in wages that occurred in June also could help the housing market even though it remains below the pre-recession rate of growth, he added. The BLS also provides a rate that counts in people who looked for work in the past 12 months as well as people who work part-time but want a full-time job. A shorter workweek has the effect of boosting average hourly pay.

The percentage of employed Americans held steady at 63 percent and an increase of 51,000 workers was noted in the business and professional services sector. That has puzzled Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell and many economists. Hospitals added 6,800 jobs in July, 36% fewer than the 10,600 new jobs added in June, a month that represented a massive hiring spike from sluggish May growth.

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.

The slip in hiring last month may be temporary.

Brian England, the owner of BA Auto, a vehicle fix shop in Columbia, Maryland, would like to add another technician and an apprentice to his 18-member staff.

"The more you make an employee healthy and happy, the more that they're going to stay with you", England said.


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