WASHINGTON (AP) -- U.S. employers added 163,000 jobs in July, a hopeful sign after three months of sluggish hiring.
The Labor Department says the unemployment rate rose to 8.3 percent from 8.2 percent in June.
July's hiring was the best since February. Still, the economy has added an average of 151,000 jobs a month this year, roughly the same as last year's pace. That's not enough to satisfy the 12.8 million Americans who are unemployed.
The rate increased because the government uses two surveys: A survey of businesses showed job gains, but a survey of households showed fewer people had jobs. Economists say the business survey is more reliable.
High unemployment could hurt President Barack Obama's re-election hopes. No president since World War II has faced re-election with unemployment over 8 percent.
President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney are both getting new talking points on the economy, with the government reporting the addition of 163,000 jobs in July while the overall unemployment rate rose to 8.3 percent.
With the presidential election now less than 100 days away, the economy still looms as the key issue in determining whether Obama will get a second term.
Romney is ready to take advantage of any new statistics that would buttress his argument that he'd better serve the country than Obama as a steward of the economy. But Obama can boast that the pace of hiring last month was the best since February, and that the American people would be better off to keep him at the helm.