The good news: The economy added 163,000 jobs last month, which the AP calls a "hopeful sign" considering how slow the past three months of hiring have been. That makes July the best month of hiring since February. But in adding an average of 151,000 jobs a month this year, the economy's pace is still not any better than last year's, and is ultimately not enough to keep up with demand. The even worse news? Unemployment is up to 8.3%, from June's 8.2%.
The rate increased because the government uses two surveys: A survey of businesses showed job gains, but a survey of households showed fewer people had jobs. Economists say the business survey is more reliable. Bottom line: It's not great, but "in the wake of what's been seen in recent months, the report is a welcome sign that the nation's job creation engine hasn't totally stalled," writes Michael Derby for the Wall Street Journal.