Washington- The US' headline unemployment rate was unchanged at 3.9 per cent in August, a month in which non-farm payrolls in the world's largest economy rose by 201,000, the Labour Department said on Friday.
Wage growth ticked up with average hourly earnings up 2.9 percent for the year. August's job gains slightly beat analysts' expectations, while the unemployment rate remained near historical lows. However, support activities for mining fared far better, experiencing an increase of 6,300 jobs. Job creation came in below expectations in August 0f 2017, 2016, and 2015. After revisions, the economy has seen average monthly gains of 196,000 jobs over the past 12 months.
Ahead of this morning's new jobs report, most projections said the US economy added about 192,000 jobs last month. Here, a job seeker holds an employment flier during a hiring event at an Aldi Supermarket in Darien, Ill., in July.
In August, factories expanded at their quickest pace in 14 years, according to a survey of purchasing managers.
Job growth in August was strong. 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.
But the 201,000 job gain in August was almost equal to the average gain of 196,000 over the prior 12 months, evidence of how consistent job growth remains.
Government payrolls decreased by 3 000.
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Average hourly earnings increased 2.9 percent over the previous year, the largest annual wage growth since 2009.
Wage growth accelerated, with hourly earnings rising 2.9 percent year-over-year. Even retail, which many predicted would decline as stores like Toys R Us shuttered for good, is still adding jobs. Gains were led by education and health services at 53 000 jobs, professional and business services with 53 000 and wholesale trade at 22 400. Healthcare added 41,000; transportation and warehousing, 20,000; and leisure and hospitality, 17,000.
Manufacturing lost 3,000 jobs, which is surprising given other signs of strength in the manufacturing sector. But construction added 23,000 jobs despite dire worker shortages as builders continue to respond to low housing supplies.
Still, 6.2 million people were counted among those unsuccessfully looking for work in August.
Interestingly, the pay gains are not especially strong in areas where employers have been complaining about labor shortages.
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 a percentage point to 7.4 percent, the lowest level since April 2001.
"There is certainly nothing in this report that would tell the Fed they shouldn't move ahead with their plans to raise rates", said Betsey Stevenson, a labor economist at the University of MI who served on the White House Council of Economic Advisers during the Obama administration. While that might be a blip, it could, if sustained, prompt the Fed to bump up interest rates more rapidly to head off a spike in inflation.