Job creation exceeds expectations in the US and unemployment rate falls to 3.5%

Job creation exceeds expectations in the US and unemployment rate falls to 3.5%

June data was revised upwards to show 398,000 jobs created instead of the 372,000 that had been reported.

Payrolls have grown for 19 straight months and the jobless rate fell from 3.6% in June.

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast a payroll increase of 250,000 and a steady 3.6% unemployment rate. Estimates ranged from 75,000 to 325,000 jobs.

The employment report paints a picture of a fairly healthy economy, despite two consecutive quarters of contraction in Gross Domestic Product.

Labor demand has fallen in interest-rate sensitive sectors such as housing and retail, but airlines and restaurants have not found enough workers.

Strong job growth could keep pressure on the Federal Reserve to make a third interest rate hike of 75 basis points at its next meeting in September, though it will largely depend on inflation readings.

The US central bank last week raised its interest rate by three-quarters of a percentage point. Since March it has raised that rate 225 basis points.

The economy contracted 1.3% in the first half, largely due to sharp swings in inventories and a trade deficit linked to the paralysis of global supply chains.

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