It's another solid jobs report: The US economy added 209,000 new jobs in July as the unemployment rate ticked down to 4.3%, per the AP. That ties a 16-year low reached in May. The job gains exceeded expectations of about 180,000, but the Wall Street Journal notes that the news isn't all rosy: It still seems that nobody is getting raises. Average hourly pay was up 2.5% over this time last year, a sluggish pace that has been consistent all year. When the jobless rate is as low as it is, wage growth is typically closer to 4%. Still, the July report comes with a positive milestone: The gains mean the US has now erased the massive job losses caused by the recession, reports the Washington Post.
The newspaper cites research by the Brookings Institution showing that, factoring in for population shifts, the nation's employment level is now back to what it was in November 2007. "It does not mean there's no slack in the economy, [or] that we're at full employment," says report co-author Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach. "But it does mean the job losses from the great recession are behind us."