9:34 am Aug. 3, 2012
The U.S. economy added just 163,000 non-farm jobs in July, which was not enough to keep pace with the number of new job-seekers, according to this morning's monthly report from the Labor Department.
As a result, the unemployment rate rose one-tenth of a point, from 8.2 percent to 8.3 percent.
The jobs report was an improvement over June, when the economy added 64,000 jobs, but doesn't significantly change the picture of a very slow economic recovery.
It's probably a relief for the Obama campaign, all told. A more sizable uptick at the beginning of the year led to fleeting hopes that the recovery was accelerating, but economists have since tamped down any optimisim, predicting the economy will continue to limp along through the end of the year.
The numbers will nevertheless serve as grist for Mitt Romney, who has returned to pummeling the president on the economy, even as he continues to fend off questions about his tax returns.
The report could also prompt the Federal Reserve to take more aggressive action to stimulate the economy. At a meeting last week, the Fed indicated it would wait to see whether job growth improved before taking any new action.