By Vicki Needham - 08/01/14 08:37 AM EDT
The U.S. economy added 209,000 jobs in July, continuing a strong stretch that represents the nation’s best job creation streak since the late 1990s.
The unemployment rate ticked up a tenth of a percentage point to 6.2 percent, as 329,000 people entered the labor force.
July is the sixth straight month the economy has surpassed the 200,000 benchmark, with average gains over the past six months of 244,000. It's the first time the nation has added more than 200,000 jobs for six straight months in a row since 1997.
Construction added 22,000 jobs in July, while the manufacturing sector showed growth of 28,000 jobs, including 12,000 in the auto sector.
The figures are a double-shot of good news for President Obama and congressional Democrats, after a report earlier this week found the economy grew at a 4 percent clip in the second quarter.
Still, the stronger economy has yet to translate into any political success for Democrats, who are in danger of losing the Senate majority. Obama’s poll numbers also remain in the low 40s.
Republicans have blamed a slow recovery on Obama and regularly criticize the White House and Democrats for not moving GOP jobs bills.
— This story was updated at 8:50 a.m.