US adds 223,000 jobs

WASHINGTON: US employers added a solid 223,000 jobs in June, and the unemployment rate fell to 5.3 per cent, a seven-year low. The numbers show the job market moving close to full health and raising expectations that the Federal Reserve will start raising interest rates as early as September. The Labour Department says the unemployment rate dropped from 5.5 per cent in May. The rate fell mostly because many people out of work gave up on their job searches and were no longer counted as unemployed. Other details in the report were less encouraging: The percentage of Americans working or looking for work fell to a 38-year low. Average hourly pay was flat. And employers added 60,000 fewer jobs in April and May than the government had previously estimated.

UK house prices fall

LONDON: British house prices unexpectedly fell last month, taking the annual rate of price increases to its lowest in two years, mortgage lender Nationwide said on Thursday. Nationwide said house prices dropped by 0.2 per cent on the month in June, well below economists’ forecasts of a 0.2 per cent rise. This pushed the annual rate of growth to a two-year low of 3.3 per cent from 4.6 per cent in May.