The US has posted weaker-than-expected jobs data – adding just 92,000 to the payroll last month, despite predictions of 130,000. The low figure is partly due to the government shedding 28,000 posts, the first staff reduction in more than a year and a half. Jobs also went in manufacturing and building. Unemployment now stands at 4.6 percent in the States. That is still significantly lower than the 6 per cent recorded in 2004 but is an increse from the 4.5 figure that had held since April this year. In March the rate was 4.4 per cent. It is the service sector that is still recruiting, adding 104,000 to the payroll in July. Analysts are not overly worried by the small payroll gains. They say with less people joining the labour force than in previous years, the figures are sufficient. And they alleviate concerns that low unemployment would lead to higher wages and a higher rate of inflation. They are also encouraged by surveys showing Americans are more optimistic about the labour market now than they have been since August 2001.