The market has been jittery for months as the U.S. economy continues to stagnate after a promising start to the year. Investors got a slight boost on Friday, however, when the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the unemployment rate fell slightly in July.
The agency announced that the U.S. added a net 117,000 jobs in July, lowering the unemployment rate to 9.1 percent from 9.2 percent. This figure is down from recent highs of more than 10 percent in 2009.
The report was notable as well for the additions of roughly 154,000 private sector jobs, while government jobs fell by 37,000. Concerns have been raised recently about private sector job growth in particular, but recent budget cuts have actually forced many agencies to slim down.
The biggest employment gainers were healthcare and retail, though manufacturing added 24,000 positions.
Reuters reports that earlier forecasts expected only around 85,000 new jobs and a steady unemployment rate, though the news source notes the drop in workforce participation rates played a major role in declining unemployment.