August didn't quite meet expectations, with 156,000 new jobs created and a 4.4% unemployment rate, versus analysts' expectations of 179,000 new jobs and an unchanged unemployment rate of 4.3%. The picture also soured slightly for June and July, with the number of jobs added over those two months revised downward a total of 41,000 new jobs, for a three-month average of 185,000 jobs per month; the average monthly gains for the year stand at 176,000.
The AP's take: "Even [August's] decreased pace suggests that businesses remain confident in an economy now in its ninth year of recovery from the Great Recession." Writing for the Wall Street Journal, Ben Leubsdorf notes that we've been at 4.3% or 4.4% for five months now, a rate that "remains below the level that Federal Reserve officials consider normal in the long run; their median longer-run projection in June was 4.6%." (Read more unemployment stories.)