July employment report due

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by Laura Matovina

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Labor Department releases the July employment figures this morning.

Economists predict employers added 100,000 jobs last month. That would be slightly better than the 75,000 a month average from April through June but still below the healthy 226,000 average in the first three months of the year. The unemployment rate is expected to stay at 8.2 percent.

The government reported yesterday that weekly applications for unemployment benefits increased by 8,000 to a seasonally adjusted 365,000. But the less volatile four-week average fell for the sixth straight week to 365,500, the lowest since March 31.

Later this morning, the Institute for Supply Management releases its service sector index for July.

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