After two expectation-smashing jobs reports in June and July, the August jobs report shows a slight easing up in the momentum of this summer’s job growth.
On Friday morning, the Labor Department reported that the U.S. economy added 151,000 jobs, while the unemployment rate remained at 4.9 percent. Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal were expecting a modest 180,000 jobs added and a decline in the unemployment rate, to 4.8 percent. Job gains were reported in industries including food, health care, and technical services (which covers accountants, lawyers, architects, and other professionals).
One thing analysts were looking out for in the August jobs report was whether there would be significant revisions—in either direction—for June and July’s fantastic numbers. But these revisions showed little change to the original numbers: Combined, the two months added 1,000 fewer jobs than originally estimated, bringing the three-month average to a solid 232,000 jobs added per month. This revision makes July the best jobs report of 2016 so far.
A point worth celebrating in July’s jobs report was the bump in wages, as the month’s gains brought overall growth between July 2015 to July 2016 to 2.6 percent—the best pace since the recession ended. For August, average hourly earnings rose by only 3 cents, to $25.73, following an eight-cent increase in July. This slowdown brings the overall wage growth in the past 12 months to 2.4 percent. The labor-force participation rate held steady at 62.8 percent after April and May wiped out gains from earlier this year.