Economy Adds 157,000 Jobs in July, Unemployment Down to 3.9%

The U.S. economy added 157,000 jobs in July, below expectations, as the job market cooled but remained strong amid a tightening labor market. The unemployment rate fell to 3.9 from 4 percent in June, the Labor Department reported on Friday.

Wage growth remained unchanged with average hourly earnings up only 2.7 percent for the year despite fewer workers who need jobs.

The Federal Reserve is likely to raise interest rates at its next meeting in September to 2.25 percent from 2 percent, in an effort to keep the labor market from reaching a boiling point.

“Overall, the report did little to change perceptions that the labor market is tight but has yet to begin overheating, and it keeps the Fed on track for a rate hike next month,” said Curt Long, chief economist with the National Association of Federally Insured Credit Unions.