US Employers Add 255K Jobs; Unemployment Holds at 4.9 Percent | NBC Southern California
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US Employers Add 255K Jobs; Unemployment Holds at 4.9 Percent

The figures suggest that U.S. employers shook off concerns about Britain's late-June vote to quit the European Union



    In this Wednesday, March 30, 2016, file photo, job recruiters work their booths at a job fair in Pittsburgh.

    U.S. employers added a healthy 255,000 jobs in July, a sign of confidence amid sluggish economic growth that points to a resilient economy.

    At the same time, the unemployment rate remained a low 4.9 percent, the Labor Department said Friday in its monthly jobs report. More Americans launched job searches, and nearly all were hired. But the influx of job seekers meant that the number of unemployed fell only slightly.

    The figures suggest that U.S. employers shook off concerns about Britain's late-June vote to quit the European Union. Nor were they apparently discouraged by the economy's tepid growth in the first half of the year: Just 1 percent at an annual rate. The solid hiring could fuel an economic rebound in the second half of this year, with more paychecks and higher pay fueling spending and growth.

    Stock index futures rose after the jobs report was released, a signal that investors may feel more encouraged by prospects for corporate earnings.

    Baby Lemur Makes London Zoo Debut

    [NATL-DFW] Baby Lemur Makes London Zoo Debut

    London Zoo is welcoming the first ever baby aye-aye lemur just in time for Halloween.

    The creepy-looking creature was actually born on July 1 but has only emerged from its secluded nesting box for the first time this week.

    The species of lemur (formally known as Daubentonia madagascariensis) are unique in that they have an unusually large middle finger and are associated with doom in their native Madagascar. Natives there believe that if an aye-aye points its long finger at you, death is not far away.

    Zookeepers expressed their excitement at the birth although they only saw the baby recently as it has been hiding in its nest box.

    (Published 41 minutes ago)

    "Even as economic growth has been lackluster, the job market has remained sparkling bright," said James Marple, a senior economist at TD Bank.

    Some economists raised the possibility that the job gains will embolden the Federal Reserve to resume raising rates later this year, though perhaps not before December. The Fed raised its benchmark rate from a record low in December last year but has since held that rate steady in the face of economic uncertainty.

    "These job numbers are good enough to keep the Fed on track for a December rate increase despite sluggish GDP growth in the first half of this year," said Scott Anderson, chief economist at the Bank of the West.

    Average hourly pay picked up in July and is 2.6 percent higher than it was a year ago, matching the fastest pace since the recession. With the unemployment rate low, that suggests that employers are being forced to compete with one another for new hires by offering higher pay.

    Police Chase Turns Into Shootout in California

    [NATL] Police Chase Turns Into Shootout in California
    A police pursuit turned into a shootout early Sunday morning in California when a Madera police officer with a civilian ride-along in the car tried to pull over a white Mazda SUV. The SUV driver refused to stop and instead shot at the cop car, hitting the windshield. The officer was not hurt and the civilian had minor scratches from broken glass. Suspects are still at-large, according to police. (Published 2 hours ago)

    Solid hiring occurred last month across a range of industries, including middle- and high-wage jobs, one factor that likely boosted average pay. Professional and business services, which includes architects, engineers and managers, added 70,000 jobs, the most since October.

    Financial services added 18,000 and construction 14,000. Government positions rose 38,000, the most in more than a year.

    Health care, which includes jobs at all pay levels, gained nearly 49,000 new jobs. Hotels and restaurants added 27,000.

    July's robust job gain may be enough to reassure investors — and perhaps Federal Reserve policymakers — that the economy will pick up. Its growth has been weak since last fall. The economy has been driven by consumers, who ramped up spending in the April-June quarter at the second-fastest pace since the recession.

    Drunk Home Invader Cooks, Plays With Family Dog

    [NATL]Drunk Home Invader Cooks, Plays With Family Dog on Trampoline
    Michigan police said a half-naked woman wandered into a Trenton home, played with the family's dog and started cooking. "Some random person is in my house trying to steal my dog," the homeowner's 10-year-old son, who was hiding under the bed holding a BB gun, told the 911 operator. (Published Saturday, Oct. 22, 2016)

    Many analysts expect the economy to rebound in the second half of the year, with one of the most optimistic estimates coming from the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta: It predicts that annualized growth will reach 3.7 percent in the current July-September quarter.

    Public perceptions of the economy have been largely negative during this election season despite low unemployment. A top adviser to Donald Trump said last week that the annual economic growth rate of just 1.2 percent in the April-June quarter was "catastrophic."

    Hillary Clinton has tended to credit the Obama administration for rescuing the economy from the Great Recession but has also said "none of us can be satisfied with the status quo."

    Other recent economic data have been mixed. Americans are confident enough to step up home purchases, aided by near-record-low mortgage rates. Sales of existing homes reached a nine-year high in June, and sales of new homes accelerated to an eight-year high.

    Trump, Clinton Trade Insults at Dinner

    [NATL-NY] Trump, Clinton Trade Insults at Dinner
    Bitter presidential rivals Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump had one more face-to-face showdown before Election Day. They tried to make it funny but plenty of the jokes bombed, and some even earned scattered boos. Watch each of the candidates' roasts in their entirety here. (Published Thursday, Oct. 20, 2016)

    Services companies, which range from retailers to banks to shipping firms, expanded at a healthy pace in July, according to a survey by the Institute for Supply Management, a trade group. Their expansion slowed a bit from the previous month. But new orders picked up, a sign that growth could remain healthy.

    But manufacturing continues to struggle and is weighing on hiring. Factories received fewer orders in June for a third straight month. Weak growth overseas and a stronger dollar have cut into many companies' overseas businesses. And auto sales have leveled off, according to data released this week.

    The slowdown in manufacturing has cost jobs: Factory employment has fallen about 30,000 in the past year, depriving the economy of key middle-income positions.

    Job growth has been stronger in higher-income occupations, such as managers, engineers and accountants. Lower-wage jobs at hotels, restaurants and retail stores have also grown at a healthy pace. Both trends add to a long-running dynamic that has caused hiring for middle-income jobs to lag behind hiring for high- and low-paying positions.