By The Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) _ U.S. employers have gone on a hiring spree this year, but America’s 25- to-34-year-olds are hardly among the biggest beneficiaries.

These workers _ increasing equipped with college and advance degrees _ represent the future of the U.S. economy. But overall hiring has failed to keep pace with this group’s population growth, according to the government’s July employment report released Friday.

The share of 25-to-34-year-olds with jobs fell to 75.6 in July, down from 76 percent in February. Before the recession, roughly 80 percent of them were employed. That puts the drop in their unemployment rate to 6.6 percent from 6.9 percent at the start of this year in a less positive light.

This is the cluster of workers who should be renting apartments and buying homes and driving economic growth. But without enough jobs, they’re more likely to live in their parents’ basements.

“Young-adult employment is less than halfway back to normal,” said Jed Kolko, chief economist at the real estate firm Trulia.

The overall unemployment rate ticked up to 6.2 percent in July from 6.1 percent.

During the six straight months that have topped 200,000 job gains, more people have looked for work. In July, an additional 329,000 began looking, yet only 131,000 jobs were added, according to the Labor Department’s survey of households.

The results of this survey determine the unemployment rate. With more people looking for work, the unemployment rate rose because the government counts people without jobs as unemployed only if they’re actively seeking work.

A separate survey of businesses and establishments calculated a seasonally adjusted net job gain last month of 209,000.

A consequence of the influx of job-seekers last month is that the unemployment rate rose for women, African-Americans, high school graduates and people with some college experience. But the overall trend for the past 12 months is clear: The unemployment rate is steadily dropping for almost everyone.

Unemployment rate by group:

(Numbers in percentages)                                            July 2014           June 2014           July 2013

White                                                                                       5.3                        5.3                      6.6
Black                                                                                       11.4                      10.7                    12.6
Asian*                                                                                      4.5                        5.1                      5.7
Adult men                                                                                5.7                        5.7                      7
Adult women                                                                           5.7                        5.3                     6.4
Teenagers                                                                               20.2                       21                     23.4
20-24 years old                                                                     11.3                       10.5                  12.5
25-54 years old                                                                       5.2                         5.1                    6.4
55 and over                                                                             4.5                         4.4                    5
Veterans of Iraq/Afghanistan*                                              9.2                         7                      7.7
No high school diploma                                                         9.6                         9.1                 10.9
High school graduate                                                             6.1                          5.8                  7.6
Some college                                                                           5.3                          5                      6
College graduate                                                                    3.1                          3.3                   3.8
Duration of Unemployment:                                               32.4                       33.5                 36.7
Average length (weeks)                                                        32.4                       33.5                 36.7
Jobless 6 months of more (pct.)                                          32.9                       32.8                 37.2

* Not seasonally adjusted

Source: Labor Department