The Boston Globe | By Associated Press
September 2, 2016
WASHINGTON (AP) — Hiring downshifted last month as U.S. employers added a modest 151,000 jobs, about half the blockbuster gains of the two previous months.
The Labor Department said Friday the unemployment rate remained 4.9 percent for the third straight month.
The figures are far below July’s gain of 275,000 jobs, the most in eight months, and June’s increase of 271,000. Still, they are enough to lower the jobless rate over time.
Job gains slowed across most major industries, and employers cut workers in manufacturing, construction and mining.
The weaker pace may make it less likely that the Federal Reserve will raise short-term interest rates at its next meeting Sept. 20-21.
Hourly wages barely increased in August and have risen just 2.4 percent in the past year, slightly lower than the previous month’s pace.
Even with last month’s deceleration, hiring has been strong for the past year and economists are unlikely to be particularly concerned by one month’s figure.
The August jobs report has typically come in below economists’ expectations and is usually revised higher in the following months. Over the past five years, it has typically been revised higher by about 70,000.
Federal Reserve officials have noted the economy’s improvement and the decline in the unemployment rate to nearly healthy levels. Fed Chair Janet Yellen said in a speech last month that ‘‘the case for an increase … has strengthened in recent months.’’