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BLS Jobs Report: 142,000 Jobs Added, Unemployment at 6.1 Percent

The economy added 142,000 jobs in August, according to this morning's Employment Situation Summary from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, fewer than the 230,000 jobs predicted by economists. The unemployment rate declined slightly to 6.1 percent. Does this report, which is the weakest in six months, indicate signs of slowing job creation?

The economy added 142,000 jobs in August, according to this morning’s Employment Situation Summary from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, fewer than the 230,000 jobs predicted by economists. The unemployment rate declined slightly to 6.1 percent. Does this report, which is the weakest in six months, indicate signs of slowing job creation?

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Some economists are inclined to dismiss the report. Rob Carnell of ING tells The Guardian that the numbers don’t fit with other surveys.

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“The headline figure is weak compared to the ADP survey, and both of the ISM surveys, and also many of the regional surveys,” says Carnell. “As such, we are hard pressed to give it much credence.”

“If this is the start of a sustained slowdown in payroll growth, I’m a fish,” tweeted Ian Shepherdson, Pantheon Macroeconomics’ chief economist, adding that the numbers are “impossible to square with all the leading payroll indicators.”

Yesterday’s ADP National Employment Report showed an increase of 204,000 jobs — fewer than the 215,000 predicted by economists, but still in line with recent months’ job reports.

The biggest gains in this morning’s report were in the following sectors:

  • Professional and business services: +47,000 jobs
  • Healthcare: +34,000 jobs
  • Food services and drinking places: +22,000 jobs
  • Construction: +20,000 jobs

Manufacturing was little changed at 28,000 jobs. Retail trade declined slightly (-8,000 jobs). Other industries like mining and logging, transportation and warehousing, government, information, and financial activities, were essentially flat.

Average hourly earnings increased by 6 cents to $24.53 in August, and an average of 2.1 percent over the year. The PayScale Index predicts an increase in wages of 1.9 percent for Q3 2014.

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Do you think job growth is slowing down, or is this report a blip? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.

Jen Hubley Luckwaldt
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