Just 58% of work-age Americans have jobs, lowest since July 1983


Bob Willis
Bloomberg
Friday, August 5, 2011

Employers added more jobs than forecast in July, the jobless rate fell and wages climbed, easing concern the U.S. economy is grinding to a halt. Stock futures rallied and Treasuries fell.

Payrolls rose by 117,000 workers after a 46,000 increase in June that was more than originally estimated, Labor Department data showed today in Washington. The median estimate in a Bloomberg News survey called for a July gain of 85,000. The jobless rate dropped to 9.1 percent as more Americans left the labor force, while average hourly earnings climbed 0.4 percent.

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Job gains may need to accelerate further to bolster consumer spending, which rose last quarter at the slowest pace in two years. Weaker growth puts more pressure on Federal Reserve policy makers meeting next week to try to steer the world’s largest economy away from another recession at a time when inflation is also accelerating.

The jobless rate declined as 193,000 people left the labor force and the number of unemployed dropped by 156,000. The share of the eligible population holding a job declined to 58.1 percent, the lowest since July 1983.

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