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Hiring Picks Up Slightly In July; Unemployment Drops To 9.1 Percent

U.S. employers added 117,000 jobs last month, according to new numbers from The Bureau of Labor Statistics. The unemployment rate dropped to 9.1 percent.

The AP reports:

The mild gain may ease investors' concerns after the Dow Jones industrial average plummeted more than 500 points over concerns that the U.S. may be entering another recession.

Still, the economy needs twice as many net jobs per month to rapidly reduce unemployment. The rate has topped 9 percent in every month except two since the recession officially ended in June 2009.

Economists were forecasting that the unemployment rate would stay at 9.2 percent and that employers would add only 90,000 jobs.

Also, The New York Times reports, the figure is far better than the 18,000 new jobs that were originally reported for June and also marks "most new jobs added in a month since April."

The BLS also revised its June numbers, saying the economy added 46,000 jobs.

Update at 8:52 a.m. ET. World Markets React:

The Guardian reports that the employment news is already easing the U.K.'s FTSE, which had posted heavy losses earlier today:

The FTSE is now down some 50 points at 5343, after trading 95 points lower just before the figures were released. Futures indicate the Dow Jones will open 140 points higher. The dollar trimmed losses against the yen.

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Eyder Peralta
Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.