The US economy added fewer jobs than expected in July, according to US non farm payroll figures released this afternoon.

215,000 jobs were added over the last month, as opposed to the 223,000 expected by analysts.

June’s figure was revised higher to 231,000 from 223,000 while May was also revised up to 260,000 from 254,000. So far this year, job gains have averaged at 208,000 per month.

US unemployment remained at 5.3%, and average wages increased by 0.2%, after showing no change in June.

The figures released today by the Department of Labor suggest that Janet Yellen will raise rates sooner rather than later – possibly as early as September. Yellen told congress last month:

“If we wait longer it certainly could mean that when we begin to raise rates we might have to do so more rapidly. An advantage to beginning a little bit earlier is that we might have a more gradual path of rate increases.”

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