New job figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed that the number of private-sector jobs rose by 210,000 in July, the largest monthly gain since February, but the unemployment rate fell to 7.9% from 7.8%.
The gains came despite a drop in the number and number of people applying for jobs and an increase in the percentage of workers without jobs.
Job growth continued in June, with the number adding 208,000.
The rate of job growth, however, fell to 5.4% from 5.5%.
The number of workers who said they were unemployed also rose by 12,000, while the number who were looking for work fell by 3,000 to a new low of 3.1 million.
The Labor Department said Thursday that total hiring in June and July was the highest since February of 2015.
The Bureau of Economic Analysis, which compiles job data, said the unemployment rates were the lowest since December 2007.
The BLS said the rate of growth in the labor force declined slightly in June but rose slightly in July.
The labor force participation rate, which is the percentage who are employed and are actively seeking work, rose to 67.1% from 66.9%.
In a separate report, the BLS added the number working part time to 1.8 million in June from 1.7 million in May.
That increase in part-time employment also was a sharp increase from April, when the number rose to 2.7 times the number in May, a record high.
The BSS reported Thursday that the pace of hiring rose for both part- and full-time positions.
Part-time jobs grew at a 2.9 percent annual rate, while full-timers increased at a 5.6 percent rate.
The unemployment rate was unchanged at 7.7%.