The US unemployment rate rose to a five-month high of 8.3 per cent in July, the government said on Friday.

The figure ticked up from 8.2 per cent in June even as 163,000 jobs were added to payrolls, the Bureau of Labour Statistics said.

The number of jobs added in June was revised downward to 64,000 from an estimate of 80,000 last month.

The stubbornly high rate is an indicator of the sluggish economy and a major challenge to President Barack Obama as he seeks re-election in November.

More jobs than expected were added, but economists surveyed by Bloomberg financial news had expected the unemployment rate to remain steady at 8.2 per cent.

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