Economy adds 164,000 in July: Unemployment holds at 3.7 percent

The U.S. added 164,000 jobs in July, the Labor Department reported Friday, a positive sign amid concerns about the long term health of the economy.

The July jobs report largely met expectations, showing a resilient but slowing labor market. The unemployment rate held even at 3.7 percent, and the labor force participation rate was little changed at 63 percent.

The jobs report comes one week after the Commerce Department released data showing a notable slowdown in U.S. growth and sharp declines in business activity.

While the labor market has rallied through much of those obstacles, the July jobs report showed unmistakable signs of a cooling economy.

May’s dismal jobs gain of 72,000 was revised down to just 62,000, while a stellar June jobs gain of 224,000 jobs was cut to a less impressive 192,000 jobs. The 41,000-job reduction dragged down the average monthly gain over the past three months to 140,000 jobs.

The economy also leaned heavily on the service sector for expansion, while goods-producing and construction industries stayed largely stagnant.

Employment in the manufacturing sector slightly increased, and wage growth has stayed flat since notching 3.2 percent in 2018.