Employers added 162,000 jobs in July, which was below expectations and offered more evidence of a recovery still stuck in second gear.
Analysts thought Fridays payroll report would show about 200,000 new jobs, given the current pace of consumer spending and business expansion. But the report disappointed, despite the national unemployment rate ticking down two tenths of a point to 7.4 percent. Stock markets turned downward after the report was released at 8:30 a.m.
The new rate means Florida still has a lower unemployment rate (7.1 percent) than the nation as a whole, though the Bureau of Labor Statistics has not yet released state unemployment reports for July. In June, Broward posted an unemployment rate of 5.9 percent and Miami-Dade recorded a rate of 8.7 percent.
The job-growth figures and unemployment rates come from different surveys (businesses report the job counts while households are polled for the unemployment information). Economists tend to favor the payroll counts as better measures of the employment climate. Fridays number dashed expectations built by a strong reading of second-quarter economic growth just days earlier.
The BLS also revised downwards the June jobs number by 26,000, meaning the growth first thought above 200,000 was actually a tamer 188,000.
McClatchys Kevin Hall contributed to this report.