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US jobs strength has investors focused on interest rates

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US jobs strength has investors focused on interest rates

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Employers in the United States added 132,000 workers to their payrolls in June. That was less than the upwardly revised total for May – 190,000 – but it is still better than economists had predicted.

The latest figures also showed that wages grew during the month which should help American consumers facing higher fuel prices and falling property values.

The unemployment rate was unchanged at 4.5%, near a six-year low and where it has been – more or less – for all of this year. That was in line with economists’ forecasts.

Manufacturers’ payrolls fell by 18,000 in June. Some of the other figures seemed rather contradictory. Retailers cut 24,000 jobs, despite enjoying strong sales in the period, and 12,000 construction jobs were added in a weak home building market.

The US central bank, the Federal Reserve, remains concerned that low unemployment and rising wages will mean higher prices. For that reason, Ben Bernanke and his policy makers are not convinced that inflation is under control. So investors are becoming more worried that the Fed might raise interest rates to cool the economy and reduce inflationary pressure.