Employers added 163,000 jobs in July after three months of sluggish hiring, a pleasant surprise that could signal the U.S. economy may be resilient enough to shake off a midyear slump. The economy has added an average of 151,000 jobs a month this year, although that’s not been enough to drive down the unemployment rate, which ticked up to 8.3 percent from 8.2 percent in June. The Labor Department’s July employment report did little to settle the political debate about the economy, with Obama administration officials and Gov. Mitt Romney seizing on the latest data to bolster their campaigns with less than four months to go until Election Day. Before Friday’s report, economists were increasingly worried that a slowdown in hiring and growth from April through June could get worse and develop into something more long-lasting. Now they are breathing a little easier. “After a string of disappointing economic reports … we’ll certainly take it,” said James Marple, senior economist at TD Economics. Stocks rose sharply in midday trading. The Dow Jones industrial average added 247 points to 13,126, while the broader Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 28 points to 1,393.
The government uses two surveys to measure employment trends. Hiring is measured through a survey of businesses. The unemployment rate comes from a survey of households and is calculated by dividing the number of people who say they are unemployed by the size of the labor force. In July, more people said they were unemployed, while the size of the labor force shrank. ~ HUFFPOST Business