The US economy saw strong jobs growth in July, helped by a wave of hiring in the hospitality industry.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics said 209,000 jobs were created in July, which was more had been expected.
The unemployment rate edged lower to 4.3%, matching May’s figure which was the lowest since 2001.
Employment in food services and drinking places rose 53,000 – that sector has now added 313,000 jobs so far this year.
Employment in health care and professional and business services also saw strong growth.
President Donald Trump welcomed the report. In a tweet he said: “Excellent jobs numbers just released – and I have only just begun.”
The dollar gained ground after the report came out. It added a third of a cent to trade at $1.1843 against the euro.
Wage growth continued to be sluggish in July, remaining unchanged at a 2.5% annual growth rate.
“The mystery continues to be with the labour market this tight, and the level of improvement we continue to see, that wages stubbornly stay at 2% year-over-year wage growth. To me that continues to be the mystery of the jobs report,” said Michael Arone, chief investment strategist at State Street Global Advisors.
Wage growth is a key consideration for policy makers at the US Federal Reserve when considering whether to raise interest rates.
“This [jobs report] should keep the chances of a December rate rise alive. The next rate rise really boils down to whether inflation picks up and this requires stronger wage growth,” said Luke Bartholomew, a strategist at Aberdeen Asset Management.
“While far from spectacular, especially given the further fall in unemployment, today’s wage numbers are just about enough for now.”