Unemployment dips to 9.1 percent

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The U.S. economy added more jobs than expected in July as the unemployment rate edged down to 9.1 percent.

Non-farm payrolls rose by 117,000 last month as private-sector employers added 154,000 jobs, the Labor Department said this morning. Private employers added 80,000 jobs in June.

Payroll data for the previous two months were revised upward by a total of 56,000 to show increases of 46,000 jobs in June and 53,000 in May.

The unemployment rate dropped slightly from 9.2 percent in June.

The numbers were better than expected and could help lift stock markets, which fell sharply Thursday amid concerns that a new recession may be in the offing, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal.

Even though the jobs report was better than expected, the labor market remains weak. President Obama this week called on Congress to extend unemployment benefits and a payroll-tax credit after lawmakers approved a deal to raise the nation's debt limit. But he is likely to face stiff opposition from Republicans who are worried about government spending, according to the report.

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