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Unemployment rate dips, economy adds 117K jobs

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By Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — Hiring picked up slightly in July and the unemployment rate dipped to 9.1 percent, an optimistic sign after the worst day on Wall Street in nearly three years.

Employers added 117,000 jobs last month, the Labor Department said Friday. That's better than the past two months, which were also revised higher.

The mild improvement may ease investors' concerns after the Dow Jones industrial average plummeted more than 500 points over concerns that the U.S. may be entering another recession.

Still, the economy needs twice as many net jobs per month to rapidly reduce unemployment. The rate has topped 9 percent in every month except two since the recession officially ended in June 2009.

Stock future rose after the report was released.

Businesses added 154,000 jobs across many industries. Governments cut 37,000 jobs last month. Still, 23,000 of those losses were almost entirely because of the shutdown of Minnesota's state government.

The unemployment rate fell partly because some unemployed workers stopped looking for work. That means they are no longer counted as unemployed.

The report follows a string of gloomy data that shows the economy has weakened.


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