An Unexpected Slowdown in U.S. Job Gains

Washington Post: “U.S. employers added just 142,000 jobs in August, snapping a six-month streak of hiring above 200,000 and posting the smallest gain in eight months.”

“The Labor Department says the unemployment rate fell to 6.1 percent from 6.2 percent. But the rate dropped because fewer people were working or seeking jobs.”

“August’s job gains were far below the average monthly increase of 212,000 in the past 12 months.”

New York Times: “Economists had been estimating a 225,000 jump in payrolls, according to a survey by Reuters before the Labor Department announcement. The number, however, showed the weakest pace of hiring since December.”

“Other yardsticks for the labor market paint a less rosy view than the headline suggests.”

“For example, the proportion of working-age Americans in the labor force dipped to 62.8 percent last month, compared with 62.9 percent in July, close to historic lows … Many economists believe at least half the drop is because Americans have simply given up the job hunt and dropped out of the labor force entirely.”

“There have been several positive economic reports this week, but the August jobs data may take pressure off the Fed to move more quickly than expected on rates.”

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