Job Growth Slowed, unemployment Inched Up in August

Unemployment rate up as 156K jobs added in August

The August jobs report showed the rate of growth in U.S. employment to be below the average of 176,000 per month so far this year - the average gain in 2016 was 187,000.

United States job creation slowed in August while the unemployment rate moved a notch higher, according to a key data report released Friday.

Employers in the US added a less-than-expected 156,000 net new jobs. Wages increased by 3 cents to an average of $26.39 an hour, the government said Friday.

The report comes as southeast Texas begins recovery efforts following historic flooding from Hurricane Harvey, but the BLS said the hurricane had no discernible effect on the employment and unemployment data for August.

The ranks of the unemployed rose by 151,000 to 7.13 million, while the employment level fell 74,000 to 153.4 million. Compared with a year ago, the average pay in August was up 2.5 percent - the same modest pace in recent months.

The August jobs report showed that roughly the same proportion of people last month as in July either had a job or were looking for one. Manufacturing has added 155,000 jobs since President Trump was elected in November 2016, which was a low point for the sector. This so-called labor force participation rate held at 62.9 percent.

"The job market is in very good shape, but wage growth is very disappointing and that's likely to continue for over the next several months", Ryan Sweet, senior economist at Moody's Analytics, told Reuters. July's total was cut by 20,000 from 209,000 from 189,000 while June was revised to 210,000 from 231,000.

From my seat, today's jobs report doesn't negatively impact this theme. In August, job gains occurred in computer systems design and related services (+8,000).

"August's employment report was disappointing across the board", said Paul Ashworth, the chief USA economist for Capital Economics.

The next important stat in this report is wage growth. Average hourly earnings grew just 0.1% month-over-month, which was less than forecast. There are further potential pitfalls ahead, as Washington faces a showdown over the debt ceiling, a statutory limit on how much money the USA can borrow that can only be increased by Congress, which could rattle markets, and delay action by the Fed.

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