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Job numbers rise, but fall short of expectations

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The economy created 162,000 jobs in July, missing forecasted estimates, but still improved from a month earlier, the Department of Labor said.

Economists expected roughly 185,000 new positions, according to USA Today and various economic forecasts.

Friday’s job numbers fall short of those estimates, but were strong enough to push the unemployment rate down slightly to 7.4%.

Jobs figures show employment levels grew in retail trade, food services, financial activities and wholesale trade.

The number of unemployed Americans currently sits at 11.5 million individuals.

Job growth is often a barometer for determining the scope of the Federal Reserve's quantitative easing program. The Fed, which recently recommitted to buying mortgage-backed securities and Treasurys on a monthly basis, views the US unemployment rate as a benchmark for today's more aggressive monetary policies.

Recent Fed statements suggest the central bank may begin tapering its aggressive MBS purchases by the end of this year, but the Fed reserves the right to hold off if the central bank remains unsatisfied with current employment levels.

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