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Jobs recovery marches on, but at slower pace

(Photo: MGN Online)

(Photo: MGN Online)

WASHINGTON — The jobs recovery marches on, albeit at a slightly slower pace.

The U.S. economy added 209,000 jobs in July, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday. That’s down from 298,000 jobs added in June, and below forecasts of 230,000 jobs from economists who were surveyed.

Meanwhile, the unemployment rate ticked up to 6.2 percent in July, from 6.1 percent in June. This recovery has been a long, slow haul, but it now seems to be hitting its stride.About 8.7 million American jobs were wiped out in just two years after the 2008 financial crisis. The economy finally gained them all back earlier this year.

Economists hope the strong hiring will continue at a pace fast enough to make up for population growth during those years of deep job losses, and draw some job market dropouts back into the labor force.

As of July, only 62.9 percent of U.S. adults older than 16 had a job or were looking for one. That percentage — known as the labor force participation rate — is still near its lowest level since the late 1970s. That partly reflects baby boomers retiring, as well as ongoing weakness in the job market.

And many Americans still think the economy is not fully recovered. According to the results of a CNN/ORC International poll released Friday, 41 percent of people surveyed rate the economy as “good”, while 58 percent rate the economy as “poor.”

But even at just 41 percent, it is the highest percentage of Americans with a positive view of the economy since the recession officially began in December 2007.