Report falls way short of predictions suggesting 75,000 new jobs would be created
Job seekers line up to see recruiters during a career fair in Plano, Texas. AP.
In yet another bit of bad summer economic news, the United States added no jobs overall in August and unemployment held steady at 9.1 percent, revealing a stalled labor market.
Economists predicted the Labor Department's monthly report would show a modest gain of about 75,000 jobs with the unemployment rate holding steady at 9.1 percent.
The report said that the number of new jobs roughly equaled the number of jobs lost. It takes about 125,000 new jobs per month to keep the unemployment rate steady. An increase of 200,000 jobs per month would bring the rate down a percentage point over a year.
The reports for June and July were also revised downward to 20,000 and 85,000, respectively, indicating that the labor market was weaker than previously thought.
In more gloomy news, the length of the average workweek fell by 0.1 hour to 34.2 hours, a sign that hiring is unlikely to pick up soon. Average hourly earnings also fell, which could damp down future consumer spending. The civilian labor force participation rate, which measures people who are working or are looking for work, was little changed from July's disappointing reading at 64.3 percent.