WASHINGTON – The U.S. economy generated 163,000 jobs in July after three months of weak hiring, a sign it is resilient enough to pull out of a midyear slump and grow modestly as the rest of the world slows down.
But employers aren’t hiring enough to drive down the unemployment rate, which ticked up to 8.3 percent last month from 8.2 percent in June – the 42nd straight month the jobless rate has exceeded 8 percent. The United States remains stuck with the weakest economic recovery since World War II.
The latest job numbers, released Friday by the Labor Department, provided fodder both for President Barack Obama, who highlighted improved hiring in the private sector, and Republican challenger Mitt Romney, who pointed toward higher unemployment.
“It’s not especially weak, but it’s not especially strong,” said Scott Brown, chief economist at the investment firm Raymond James.
Investors focused on the positive. The Dow Jones industrials surged more than 220 points.