US economy adds 201,000 jobs as unemployment rate holds at 3.9%

  • US adds jobs for 95 months in a row – a record growth streak
  • But rate appears to slow and wage growth continues to lag

America’s record-breaking streak of job growth continued in August with the US economy adding 201,000 jobs as the unemployment rate remained steady at 3.9%.

The US has now added jobs every month for 95 months in a row – the longest streak of uninterrupted growth on record. There are signs that the rate is slowing, however, and wage growth continues to lag as it has done since the end of the Great Recession.

Economists had predicted the economy would add around 192,000 and that the unemployment rate would fall to 3.8%, down from 3.9% last month.

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Wage growth picked up slightly in August, rising 2.9% from a year earlier. But the rate of growth remains sluggish and hasn’t beaten 3% since 2009 despite the record number of jobs added.

The jobs figures for July and August were revised down. Those figures showed 147,000 jobs added in July and 208,000 in June.

This week ADP, the US’s largest payroll processor, said private companies had added 163,000 new positions in August, its lowest reading in 10 months. Although the number suggested a slight slowdown in job creation, Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody’s Analytics, which helps compile the report, said employers were now struggling to find new workers.

“The job market is hot. Employers are aggressively competing to hold on to their existing workers and to find new ones. Small businesses are struggling the most in this competition, as they increasingly can’t fill open positions,” he said.

The continuing resilience of the jobs market is likely to add to the Federal Reserve’s determination to continue raising interest rates from their historical lows. The Fed is expected to announce another rate hike – despite Trump’s protests – when it meets at the end of the month.

In July, in a rare public rebuke of the Fed by a sitting president, Trump criticized the central banks policy of raising rates. “I don’t like all of this work that we’re putting into the economy and then I see rates going up,” he told CNBC.


Dominic Rushe in New York

The GuardianTramp

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