(WASHINGTON) — U.S. employers added 163,000 jobs last month, exceeding expectations, the Labor Department reported Friday morning.
The figure is the biggest increase since February and more than double the amount of positions that were added in June, 80,000. Economists had expected to see around 100,000 jobs added to the economy in July.
“One hundred sixty-three thousand jobs added to payrolls was more than I expected and more than the consensus,” Hugh Johnson, the chairman and chief economist of Hugh Johnson Advisors, told ABC News Radio.
“Maybe, just maybe, cross your fingers, we’re getting back to adding to payrolls at the level we really want to see, something between 150,000 to 200,000 jobs, that’s what you’d really like to see at this stage of the very sluggish economic recovery,” he added.
But the unemployment rate didn’t fare as well. That number ticked up slightly to 8.3 percent as more people sought work.
“Although we added 163,000, we weren’t able to absorb all of the new entrants to the labor force and as a result, the unemployment rate went up from 8.2 to 8.3 percent,” Johnson said.
Economists had expected it would remain unchanged at 8.2 percent.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Alanna Petroff, CNN Newswire
Scott Zamost and Drew Griffin, CNN Newswire