Published: Mon, September 10, 2018
Markets | By Erika Turner

USA added 201,000 jobs in August, unemployment rate hovers at 3.9 percent

USA added 201,000 jobs in August, unemployment rate hovers at 3.9 percent

When it comes to the U.S. jobs report, for years now it hasn't been the number of jobs created or the headline unemployment rate that's been in focus, but the mystery of the American paycheck. That includes people who are unemployed, working a part-time job when they want a full-time job, or have dropped out of the labor force because they have become discouraged.

Despite the stronger than expected job growth during the month, the unemployment rate held at 3.9 percent in August compared to expectations for a drop to 3.8 percent.

In its new release of data, the BLS also stripped a total of 50,000 jobs from its two most recent jobs reports, saying total non-farm employment had added 208,000 jobs rather than 248,000 in June, and 147,000 instead of 157,000 jobs in July.

August's job gains were driven by professional and business services as well as health care and wholesale trade.

"The bottom [income] quartile and the bottom decile are moving up faster than everyone else", said Cathy Barrera, chief economist at the job site ZipRecruiter.

Manufacturing lost 3,000 jobs, which is surprising given other signs of strength in the manufacturing sector.

Here are the highlights of the three most closely-watched components of the report: payrolls, wages and unemployment. The U-6, or underemployment rate, fell to 7.4% from 7.5%.

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Employment at sporting goods, hobby, book and music stores rebounded by 9,200 jobs in August after shedding 30,300 jobs in July related to the closing of all Toys-R-Us stores.

Strengthening wage growth underscores tightening labour market conditions and cements expectations for a third interest rate increase from the Federal Reserve this year when policymakers meet on September 25-26.

In August, factories expanded at their quickest pace in 14 years, according to a survey of purchasing managers. Wholesalers added 22,400 jobs last month.

USA employers sped up their hiring in August, reversing several months of slowing gains.

- USD Unemployment Rate (AUG): 3.9% versus 3.8% expected, unch.

USA businesses added 204,000 jobs while federal, state and local governments lost 3,000.

But a broader measure of unemployment, which includes people who want to work but have given up searching and those working part-time because they can not find full-time employment, fell one-tenth of percentage point to 7.4%, the lowest level since April 2001. This is the best annual private wage growth figure since May 2009.

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