Jul 2, 8:35 AM EDT

US employers add 223K jobs; jobless rate falls to 5.3 pct.

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WASHINGTON (AP) -- U.S. employers added a solid 223,000 jobs in June, and the unemployment rate fell to 5.3 percent, 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 Labor Department says the unemployment rate dropped from 5.5 percent 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.

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