Economy adds 201K jobs in August, unemployment holds at 3.9 percent

Economy adds 201K jobs in August, unemployment holds at 3.9 percent

Meanwhile, the unemployment rate remained at a steady low of 3.9-percent.

Economists surveyed by Bloomberg expected 195,000 payroll gains.

But August's gains could be revised higher; this has happened in 14 of the last 17 years, according to Rick Rieder, who manages $1.9 trillion as BlackRock's chief investment officer of global fixed income. Still, monthly gains for the year are averaging a robust 207,000.

And while August's report was an overall strong reading for the USA economy, the labor force participation was a disappointment, dropping to 62.7%. 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.

The drop last month was fuelled by a loss of 92,000 part-time positions.

The Trump administration has imposed tariffs on imported steel and aluminum as well as on $50 billion of goods from China.

Average hourly earnings rose 10 cents to $27.16.

While economists caution against reading too much into the numbers, Mark Hamrick, a senior economic analyst at Bankrate.com, said industry watchers will be keeping an eye on whether the manufacturing sector continues to shed jobs in response to rising trade tensions. These past few months have been the strongest rates seen in the United States in nine years.

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The economy is at or near full employment, depending on who you ask, so economists have been expecting wages to rise for some time.

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

The financial services and education and health services sectors lead the way in August with 53,000 jobs gained in each sector during the month. Healthcare added 41,000; transportation and warehousing, 20,000; and leisure and hospitality, 17,000.

Construction companies hired 23,000 more workers last month.

Interestingly, the pay gains are not especially strong in areas where employers have been complaining about labor shortages. With job openings exceeding the number of people seeking work, and with initial jobless claims at their lowest level since 1969, the labor market is still largely in good shape.

August's job creation figure was higher than July's downwardly revised total of 147,000.

After years of job growth, workers may finally be getting more money in their paychecks. 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.

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