New car prices rise 2% in July
NEW YORK — New car pricing and sales figures released Friday showed that the economy added 1.5 million jobs in July, the biggest gain in more than four years.
The unemployment rate fell to 6.2% from 7.2%, which was the lowest rate in three years.
The economy grew by 1.7 million jobs, a 0.2 percentage point increase from July.
The jobs report was released as U.S. unemployment is still below 8% and the economy is on pace to add a net of 6.5% of its expected employment growth this year.
Economists polled by Reuters had expected the unemployment rate to climb to 7.3%.
The job growth was driven by a surge in construction jobs, which grew by a record 857,000, and the construction of factories and office space.
Construction companies added a record 532,000 jobs last month, the Labor Department said Friday.
The Labor Department did not provide a breakdown of how much of that growth came from new construction, and it was not immediately clear how much was due to the job gains.
For months, labor leaders have warned that the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization is underestimating food prices.
A year ago, U.NSW said food prices rose by more than 1% a month, but economists say it is too soon to tell whether that was due more to food prices, which have been on a downward trajectory since early in the year, or the effects of the drought.
Some economists are warning that if prices continue to fall further in coming months, the food price gains could make it hard for businesses to borrow money.
But they note that the recession is now in its fifth year and the Federal Reserve has already kept interest rates near zero.
“There is a long way to go to reverse the downward trend in food prices,” said Robert Kaplan, chief economist at the National Association of Realtors.
Many economists think that a gradual return to normal will take longer.
In addition to food, other areas of the economy also posted gains in July.
The labor department reported that the construction industry added 2.1 million jobs.
Manufacturing jobs, once a pillar of the U’s economy, added 1 million jobs last year.