WASHINGTON – Sixty-thousand fewer jobs were added to the U.S. economy during July than in the previous month and the national unemployment rate remained unchanged, according to a report released Friday.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 164,000 jobs were added to the economy in July, compared with 224,000 in June. The unemployment rate for both months is 3.7%.
Analysts had predicted that about 165,000 jobs would be added in July.
The report comes two days after the Federal Reserve voted to lower interest rates in response to growing economic uncertainty. The central bank reduced its federal funds rate from 2.25%-2.50%. to 2.0%-2.25%. It is the first rate cut since 2008.
The Fed made four modest rate increases in 2018. That year the U.S. economy grew by 3.1%.
The economy grew by 2.1% in the second quarter of this year.
The economic slowdown is compounded by a threat from President Donald Trump to impose $300 billion worth of new tariffs on China starting on Sep. 1. The threat comes as the U.S. and China are negotiating a new trade agreement.
When U.S. markets opened at 9:30 a.m. EDT. on Friday the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) had fallen 160 points. The NASDAQ and S&P 500 indexes were also down.