Employers added 255,000 jobs in July as the nation's unemployment rate remained at 4.9 percent, the Labor Department reported Friday.

The total number of unemployed, defined as people out of work but actively looking for it, remained unchanged at 7.8 million. The level has been essentially stuck at that rate for a year. The labor force participation rate did not budge from its rate of 62.8 percent reported last month.

Nevertheless, the jobs boost beat forecasters' predictions. The consensus of Bloomberg's survey of experts was that the payrolls would rise by 180,000.

The department had reported earlier in the week that claims for state unemployment benefits had rose by 3,000 to a seasonally adjusted 269,000 for the last week in July, above analysts' predictions. That put claims below 300,000 for 74 consecutive weeks, the longest such streak in more than four decades.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics also revised the jobs numbers for May and June, adding 18,000 more jobs over the two months. In May, the increase was 24,000 jobs instead of 11,000, while the June boost was raised from 287,000 to 292,000.