Employers added a healthy 255,000 jobs last month, a sign of confidence amid sluggish growth that points to a resilient US economy, reports the AP. It's the second straight month of strong growth. The Labor Department also said the unemployment rate remained a low 4.9% in July. More Americans launched job searches, and nearly all were hired, but the influx of job seekers meant that the number of unemployed fell only slightly. The headline number of 255,000 came in well above the estimate of 179,000, notes the Wall Street Journal.
"I certainly wouldn’t go so far as to say this number means a September hike is a done-deal," writes Paul Vigna at the Journal. "In fact, I personally don’t think this number could have possibly been high enough to make that true. However, this report does raise the odds on another hike." When that happens is the question. The figures suggest that US employers shook off concerns about Britain's late-June vote to quit the European Union. Nor were they apparently discouraged by tepid growth in the first half of the year of just 1% at an annual rate. Average hourly pay picked up and is 2.6% higher than it was a year ago, matching the fastest pace since the recession. (Read more unemployment stories.)