Labor report: Pace of U.S. job growth slows

Job growth continues in the United States, although the latest payroll gain came in below the monthly average for the past year.

According to the Labor Department estimates, nonfarm payrolls increased 151,000 in August. That number fell short of what economists had forecast as well as the average monthly increase of 204,000 over the prior year.

The national unemployment rate remained unchanged at 4.9 percent for a third straight month as the labor force continued to increase. Average hourly earnings rose as well.

Initial estimates for job gains in July and June were revised downward a total of  1,000. Although the estimate for July increased 20,000 to 275,000, the estimate for June decreased 21,000 to 271,000. Using the latest numbers, nonfarm payrolls have an increased an average  of 232,000 a month over the past three months.

For August, the ranks of the unemployed held steady at 7.8 million people with 2 million of those out of work 27 weeks or longer. Another
6.1 million were counted among those working part time because their hours had been cut or they’re unable to find full-time positions. The civilian labor participation rate held steady at 62.8 percent.

Employment in food services and at drinking places rose 34,000, while professional and technical services added 20,000 jobs. Payrolls rose 15,000 in financial activities and 14,000 in health care.

The average workweek for employees on private, nonfarm payrolls slipped a tenth of an hour to 34.3 hours. The manufacturing work week declined two-tenths of an hour to 40.6 hours.

Average hourly earnings on private, nonfarm payrolls rose 3 cents to $25.73. Over the past year, hourly earnings have increased 2.4 percent.