Job growth slumps in August, unemployment holds steady

Mario Tama  Getty

Mario Tama Getty

United States job growth slowed in August as employers added 156,000 jobs, according to official data, but even that decreased pace suggests that businesses remain confident in an economy now in its ninth year of recovery from the global financial crisis. July added 189,000 jobs, as opposed to the 209,000 originally reported, while June saw gains of 210,000, instead of 231,000.

An extended a run of modest labor market gains this year has produced little acceleration in wage growth or inflation, underscoring a puzzle that complicates Federal Reserve policy decisions looming in the months ahead. The US economy needs about 100,000 jobs per month to keep up with population growth.

Underscoring labor market strength, manufacturing payrolls surged by 36,000 jobs. Among the winners were construction, which added 28,000 jobs, health care, which added 20,200 jobs, and auto plants, which added 13,700 jobs.

The U.S. Labor Department will release its latest employment numbers today for the month of August.

The growth missed expectations, as analysts had expected the economists would report approximately 200,000 new jobs in August.

Jayasuriya-led Lanka selection panel quits after flop show vs India
Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Singapore and the National Institute of Fundamental Studies (NIFS), Colombo . Malinga needs just one wicket to take his career ODI haul to 300, but he is not preoccupied with reaching the milestone.

The unemployment rate subsequently inched up to 4.4% in August from 4.3% in July.

Average hourly earnings increased by 3 cents to $26.39, after a 9-cent increase in July. The unemployment figure in August among men was 4.1 percent; women, 4.0 percent; teenagers, 13.6 percent; white Americans, 3.9 percent; African-Americans, 7.7 percent; Asian-Americans, 4.0 percent and Hispanic-Americans, 5.2 percent.

The BLS noted in its report that Hurricane Harvey had "no [discernible] effect" on the employment data for August. Before this report, the pace of hiring had averaged 184,000 a month this year. Professional and business services led the job gains, with 40,000. The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury fell to 2.10%, the lowest level all year, before rebounding to 2.13%, essentially unchanged, according to Tradeweb.

After beginning to rise, wages returned to stubborn and nearly stagnant growth in August. In August, average hourly earnings of private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees increased by 4 cents to $22.12.

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