The U.S. economy got a break Friday morning with the nation adding 117,000 jobs in July and the unemployment rate slipping to 9.1% from 9.2% in June, the government said. This positive news from the Labor Department arrived a day after the Dow Jones plunged by 500 points, on concerns over the European debt crisis and gloomy consumer sentiment. "Today's report should relieve fears that the economy is headed back into recession," said Econoday. "Growth is still modest but positive. And maybe the phrase 'transitory' will again be seen applying to first half weakness. Equity futures jumped on the news." The 117,000 jobs added in July is above analyst expectations, according to Econoday. The analysis firm said "the median forecast was for a 108,000 boost for the month." Econoday said a rebound in the auto sector buoyed earnings and wage growth picked up as average hourly earnings grew 0.4%. The average work week for employees remained unchanged at 34.3 hours. Write to Kerri Panchuk.