WASHINGTON – The U.S. created 209,000 new jobs in July, easily beating Wall Street forecasts and showing the labor market still has plenty of muscle more than eight years into a expansion. Economists polled by MarketWatch had predicted a 175,000 increase in nonfarm jobs. The unemployment rate slipped to 4.3% from 4.4%, retouching a 16-year low. Average wages climbed 0.3% to $26.36 an hour, the government said Friday. Hourly pay increased 2.5% from July 2016 to July 2017, unchanged from the prior month. The average workweek was flat at 34.5 hours. Hiring was led by professional firms, health-care providers and restaurants. The government raised its estimate of new jobs created in June to 231,000 from 222,000. May's gain was reduced to 145,000 from 152,000.
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