U.S. employers created an unexpectedly low 162,000 jobs in July, edging down the nation's unemployment rate to 7.4 percent, the Labor Department said on Friday.

Analysts had expected new job creation to be about 185,000 and the nation's unemployment rate to to dip to 7.5 percent. 

Employment rose in retail trade, food services and drinking places, financial activities, and wholesale trade.

Jobs Report Preview: What Is The Unemployment Rate Hiding?
The ADP jobs report could take on more importance if the Bureau of Labor Statistics is hampered by the government shutdown. Photo: Reuters

The employment report comes two days after the Federal Reserve made no changes to its stimulus policy and failed to signal when it would start to "taper" its market-friendly bond buying.