The U.S. economy created an estimated 156,000 jobs in August, falling slightly short of analysts’ estimates. The unemployment rate was essentially unchanged at 4.4 percent; it had been at 4.3 percent.
Economists had predicted a gain of between 170,000-180,000 jobs for August.
The Labor Department also cut previous estimates for job growth in June and July by a combined 41,000 — the July figure fell from +209,000 to +189,000, and the June number dropped from +231,000 to +210,000.
Wage growth also slowed in August, with the average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rising by 3 cents to $26.39. The average had risen by 9 cents in July.
“Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings have increased by 65 cents, or 2.5 percent,” the Bureau of Labor Statistics says.
As for where the jobs were added, the Labor agency says the biggest gain was in manufacturing, with 36,000 jobs. The sector has now added 155,000 jobs since November 2016, when it hit a recent employment low.
Other gains were in motor vehicles and parts (adding 14,000 jobs), fabricated metal products (+5,000), and computer and electronic products (+4,000), the agency says.
The BLS also added a note about the natural disaster that has hit parts of Texas and Louisiana — and that is sure to have a large economic impact.
“Hurricane Harvey had no discernable effect on the employment and unemployment data for August,” the agency wrote. “Household survey data collection was completed before the storm.”