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US jobs figures come in well above expectations

163,000 new jobs

The US jobs figures have come in, revealing an extra 163,000 people in payroll employment. The consensus forecast was around 100,000 new jobs, and as Reuters reported, the range for that poll was minimal. Economists were united in their pessimism. It is worth remembering as wll that the 90 per cent confidence interval for the figures is wide enough that anything between 0 and 200,000 new jobs could be a statistical error from that expected figure. 

The unemployment rate was essentially unchanged at 8.3 per cent (up 0.1 per cent on paper, but actually a far lesser increase as it switched from just below 8.25 per cent to just above), as the number of people entering the labour market balanced the number of people getting jobs.

As ever, the decline in public sector jobs was a drag on private sector payrolls, which grew by 172,000. There was also a big fall in the number of people unemployed for more than 27 weeks, the US metric of long-term unemployment, hopefully reducing any hysteresis effects.

The data for May was revised upwards, and the data for June downwards.

Alex Hern is a technology reporter for the Guardian. He was formerly staff writer at the New Statesman. You should follow Alex on Twitter.