WASHINGTON – U.S. employers boosted payrolls in July at the slowest pace since February, adding 92,000 jobs as the national unemployment rate ticked up to its highest level since the beginning of the year, a government report on Friday showed.
The Labor Department also revised down its estimates for job creation in each of the two prior months by a total of 8,000 - to 126,000 in June from a previously reported 132,000 and to 188,000 in May instead of 190,000.
July's new-job total was the smallest for any month since February when 90,000 were created. The consensus forecast of economists in a week-old Reuters poll was for 130,000 new jobs in July.
The 4.6 percent unemployment rate in July was the highest since a matching 4.6 percent in January and the last time the rate was higher was in August last year when it reached 4.7 percent, department officials said.
So far during the first seven months of 2007, average job growth has eased to 136,000 per month from a more vigorous 189,000 throughout 2006.
All the July job growth came in service industries, which added 104,000 jobs while goods-producing industries cut 12,000 positions. The government shed 28,000 jobs in July, the first time in more than a year and half that the government has cut hiring.