The new jobs report is out, and it's a lackluster one. Employers added 130,000 jobs in August, short of expectations ranging from 150,000 to 160,000, per the Wall Street Journal and the AP. The unemployment rate remained unchanged at 3.7%. In what the Journal sees as more evidence that hiring is slowing, the figures for June and July were revised downward—from 193,000 new jobs to 178,000 in June and from 164,000 to 159,000 in July. The numbers will put even more focus on comments to come later Friday from Fed chief Jerome Powell in regard to possible interest rate cuts.
The modest jobs growth is a sign that global economic weakness and President Trump's trade war with China are worrying employers. The job gains were lifted by the temporary hiring of 25,000 government workers for the 2020 Census. Excluding all government hiring, businesses added 96,000 jobs, the fewest since May. The overall unemployment rate was flat for a positive reason: Americans surged into the workforce, lifting the proportion of adults working or looking for work to its highest level since February. Job gains have averaged 150,000 a month for the past six months, down from 223,000 for all of last year. (Read more jobs report stories.)