Another good month for jobs, as total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 255,000 in July, and the unemployment rate was unchanged at 4.9 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported this morning. The leading sector was a strong one: Professional and business services added 70,000 jobs in July and has added 550,000 jobs over the past 12 months.
On the heels of June's increase of 292,000 jobs, it's looking more and more like May's disappointing number of 24,000 new jobs was an anomaly. Taken together, June and July mark the best two-month stretch of job growth since late last year.
Another good sign was the increase in wages. Average hourly earnings were up 8 cents on the month, to $25.69, and are now up 2.6 percent from a year ago.