Solid US job gains expected for 6th straight month

WASHINGTON (AP) — Analysts believe the latest employment numbers -- due out at 8:30 a.m. Eastern time -- will be another positive indicator that the economy continues to improve.

Economists predict that the Labor Department will say employers added 225,000 jobs in July. That's according to a survey by data provider FactSet. That would follow June's big 288,000 increase. And it would mark the sixth-straight month of gains above 200,000, the longest such stretch since 1997.

That would keep the unemployment rate at 6 .1 percent, the lowest it's been in six years.

The government said Wednesday that the economy strengthened significantly during the April-June quarter. Americans stepped up their spending, particularly on autos, furniture and other big-ticket items. Businesses also spent more on plants, office buildings and equipment.

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