Employers have added an average of 192,000 jobs a month since January. That’s enough to gradually lower the unemployment rate, which fell to 7.4 percent in July.
The economy is growing at a pace that might be too weak to accelerate hiring. It expanded at a 2.5 percent annual rate from April to June, the government said Thursday. That’s up sharply from the government’s previous estimate of 1.7 percent.
Growth may not be picking up much in the current July-September quarter. Manufacturing and housing, two key sectors, have shown signs of weakening. Rising interest rates may be slowing the housing recovery, which could lead to fewer construction jobs. Sales of new homes plummeted in July to their lowest level in nine months.
And a measure of pending home sales — which reflects the number of people who sign contracts to buy homes — fell in July. That suggested that final sales could slow in the coming months.
U.S. factories received fewer orders in July for long-lasting goods, a sign of less-than-robust manufacturing output. Businesses cut back on orders for computers, electrical equipment and other costly items.