US economy added 201000 jobs in August, while unemployment held at 3.9%


In August, the US economy added 201,000 jobs and the unemployment rate held steady at 3.9%. Wage growth had been expected to remain unchanged.

The black unemployment rate, which President Donald Trump has touted in recent months, declined to 6.3% in August though remains above the more than 40-year low of 5.9% hit back in May.

Economists surveyed by Bloomberg expected 195,000 payroll gains.

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. Through July, the last three months have seen average job gains of 224,000 per month.

"The U.S. economy is barreling full steam ahead", economist Leslie Preston of TD economics wrote in a note to clients.

USA employers sped up their hiring in August, reversing several months of slowing gains. "Those numbers to me also reflect some of the anecdotal evidence about there being labor shortages in jobs that require little experience or less education: things like construction, transportation, trucking, or child care". Automakers typically retool their factories for new model year cars over the summer, which can temporarily distort the job figures.

August was the 95th consecutive month in which American employers hired more people than were fired, and there's never been a longer streak. Businesses are increasingly reluctant to even lay off workers, in part because it would be difficult to replace them at a time when qualified job applicants have become harder to find.

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 may be due to a pool of discouraged and other workers who had been on the sidelines, but some experts believe that supply will soon run thin.

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Employment in mining took a positive turn for the month of August, the BLS reports.

In early July, the Trump administration slapped tariffs on $34 billion in Chinese imports and announced a proposed list of tariffs on another $200 billion in Chinese goods. The average hourly wage increased by 2.9 percent over the previous year. "These include things like baristas, cashiers and bank tellers, and I think that's helping boost that average wage number", Andrew Chamberlain, chief economist at the job search site Glassdoor, told CBS MoneyWatch this week.

A lack of wage gains has been a major blemish on an economy that President Donald Trump has called the strongest ever - and is now being boosted by his tax-cut stimulus. Wages have been closely tracked for signs of building inflation pressures in the economy.

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

"The biggest contributor to job gains was professional and business services, which added 53,000".

Manufacturers cut 3,000 jobs last month, the first time they have cut jobs in about a year.

Interestingly, the pay gains are not especially strong in areas where employers have been complaining about labor shortages.

Another measure showed diminishing labor-market slack.