August Jobs Report: Unemployment Rate Remains At Historic Low

The U.S. economy added 156,000 jobs in August as unemployment was essentially unchanged at 4.4. percent, federal economists reported Friday.

Employers in the USA added a less-than-expected 156,000 net new jobs. Wages continued to grow at an annual rate of 2.5 percent.

The ranks of the unemployed rose by 151,000 to 7.13 million, while the employment level fell 74,000 to 153.4 million. Earnings were expected to rise 0.2% over the prior month and 2.6% over the prior year.

The data for demographic groups came from a survey of households that is part of the Labor Department's monthly jobs report. Temporary help employment was up 4.3% y/y, with monthly job gains averaging approximately 10,500 over the past 12 months.

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Friday's report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics also cut previous estimates for job growth in June and July by a combined 41,000 - the July figure was revised to 189,000 from 209,000, and the June number dropped to 210,000 from 231,000.

All told, if current averages keep up, we're on track to see the USA economy add about 2.1 million jobs this calendar year, which isn't bad, but which would fall short of last year's totals.

August was expected to be a weak month for job creation, but it was worse than that.

"With the survey evidence still strong and third-quarter economic growth on course for another decent gain after the second, there is no reason to believe that the modest drop-off in employment growth is the start of a more serious downturn", said Paul Ashworth, chief United States economist at Capital Economics. Temporary help services employment was almost flat in August, adding 100 jobs.

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Job gains occurred in manufacturing, construction, professional and technical services, health care, and mining. Manufacturing employment rose a brisk 36,000 jobs, much of that coming in auto manufacturing, a sector in which payrolls can be volatile in the summer as companies retool their plants.

Average hourly earnings increased by 3 cents to $26.39, after a 9-cent increase in July. There was a modest rise in the unemployment rate from 4.3% to 4.4%, as the number of unemployed people in the U.S. economy stood at 7.1 million.

The figures made for disappointing reading for Donald Trump, who hasput jobs and wage growth among the top priorities for his administration. The rate is still down half a point from a year ago and twice that when including sources of "hidden unemployment" like discouraged workers.

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