WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. employers added a modest 130,000 jobs in August, a sign that hiring has slowed but remains durable in the face of global economic weakness and President Donald Trump’s trade war with China.
The unemployment rate remained 3.7% for a third straight month, the Labor Department said Friday , near the lowest level in five decades. And more Americans entered the workforce in August, a positive development that increased the proportion of adults who are either working or seeking work to its highest level since February.
August’s job gain was boosted by the temporary hiring of 25,000 government workers for the 2020 Census. Excluding all government hiring, the economy added just 96,000 jobs in August, the fewest since May.
Yet the monthly jobs report provided some positive signals: Average hourly pay, for example, rose 11 cents in August to $28.11, up 3.2% from a year earlier. That is easily ahead of inflation and increases Americans’ spending power.
The slower pace of hiring does suggest that Trump’s trade war with China might be discouraging some companies from hiring. Still, even with more moderate job growth, rising employment and paychecks are expected to continue to fuel consumer spending, the primary driver of growth. The economy’s expansion has entered its 11th year, the longest on record.
- The federal government hired 25,000 temporary workers in August in preparation for the 2020 Census, giving the overall jobs gain a big bump.
- Private-sector employment was up by only 96,000, the lowest pace since February.
- The retail sector saw a net decline in workers of 11,100 in August alone. Trade, transportation and utilities also lost 11,000 jobs.
Without the temporary hiring of Census workers, the disappointing August jobs report would have been even worse.
The federal government hired 25,000 temporary workers in preparation for the 2020 Census in August, giving the overall jobs gain a big bump. Nonfarm payrolls increased by 130,000 last month, which fell short of Wall Street estimates for 150,000.
Employment in federal government rose by 28,000 in total in August, the Labor Department said Friday. Private-sector employment was up by only 96,000, the lowest pace since February.
The weakness largely came from the retail sector, which saw a net decline in workers of 11,100 in August alone. Trade, transportation and utilities also lost 11,000 jobs, and mining and logging lost 5,000 positions.