Job Growth Slowed, unemployment Inched Up in August

Job Growth Slowed, unemployment Inched Up in August

The Labor Department said Thursday the USA economy created 156,000 jobs in August and unemployment remained at 4.4%, matching a near 16-year low set in June.

The unemployment rate ticked back up to 4.4 from 4.3 as seen in May and July, but otherwise a 16-year low.

Average hourly wages rose 3 cents in August to $26.39, up 2.5 percent from a year ago.

The Department of Labor said there was "no discernible effect on the employment and unemployment" rate from the storm last month because the survey was compiled before it hit.

The economy has grown at a subpar annual pace of 2.1 percent during the first six months of 2017.

Consumer spending in July rose at its fastest pace in three months.

More news: US Special Counsel Has Draft Letter From Trump on Comey Firing

August was expected to be a weak month for job creation, but it was worse than that. Workers without high-school degrees saw their unemployment rate drop to 6 percent, down 0.9 percentage points. Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings have risen by 2.5 percent, the same growth as in July. The August job report is unlikely to deter the Federal Reserve from announcing the start of unwinding its balance sheet this month, analysts said. In August, job gains occurred in computer systems design and related services (+8,000).

The report was something of a disappointment, as investors and economists had been looking for job growth in the 180,000 to 190,000 range.

Still, the average job growth for the past 3 months is 185,000 according to government data. The participation rate has tumbled from 66% over the past decade, but some of that decline reflects an ageing U.S. population that is retiring and lowers the participation rate. Some economists say that in light of that trend, a stable participation rate is a positive sign for the economy.

August was a big month for 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.

But increased consumer sentiment failed to increase retail hiring.

Michael Mabry, the franchise restaurant's CEO, said he plans to add 15 locations before year's end to the chain's roughly 100 existing sites. Retailers hired just 800 workers.

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