US Created 156000 Jobs In August

Javier Howell
September 2, 2017

All in all, the report suggests the job market remains healthy even though the economy has grown at a sluggish 2.1 percent annual rate during the first six months of 2017.

The Labor Department reported that the economy created 156,000 new jobs last month, which was below the Reuters consensus for 180,000.

Workers saw their average hourly earnings increase by 3 cents, which tracks with the 2.5 percent rate of earnings growth that has prevailed all year.

Government economists who monitor unemployment say hurricane Harvey had "no discernable effect" on the unemployment figures because the data was collected before the storm struck.

The number of Americans working part-time for economic reasons fell by 27,000 to 5.26 million. Wages have risen 2.5% in the past 12 months, unchanged from July.

July's strong jobs report also revised down slightly, with nonfarm payrolls rising by 189,000 during the month, below the 209,000 that was initially reported by the BLS. Despite ostensibly tighter labour markets, wage growth has been stuck at 2.5% over the last 5 months, similar to the 2.6% average increase previous year.

The bottom line: The August report came in below the consensus forecast, and with significant downward revisions to June and July's report, the summer job market looks a bit cooler in retrospect.

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. Professional and business services led the job gains, with 40,000. Average hourly earnings for non-farm payrolls rose three cents, to $26.39 per hour. The last time it was at 4.4% was 10 years ago, right before the start of the Great Recession.

In August, manufacturers, construction firms and health care providers account for more than half of all the hiring.

In a note to clients ahead of the report, Spencer Hill, an economist at Goldman Sachs, said he expected the report would show 160,000 jobs were created in August. There are further potential pitfalls ahead, as Washington faces a showdown over the debt ceiling, a statutory limit on how much money the U.S. can borrow that can only be increased by Congress, which could rattle markets, and delay action by the Fed.

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