The economy added 151,000 jobs in August while the unemployment rate stayed unchanged at 4.9 percent, according to the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Analysts had expected 180,000 jobs to be added.
Revisions to past months didn’t significantly change the picture: June was revised down from an original 292,000 to 271,000, while July was revised up from 255,000 to 275,000, meaning there were a net 1,000 fewer jobs than originally reported. The economy has added an average of 232,000 jobs a month over the last three months and has continued to bounce back from a very anemic report of just 24,000 jobs in May.
August job growth was fueled by food and drinking places (34,000), social assistance (22,000), professional and technical services (20,000), finance (15,000), and health care (14,000). Growth has been particularly strong in restaurants and bars, where 312,000 jobs have been added over the year.
Wages were up slightly in August, rising 3 cents, but overall growth remains sluggish. Average hourly earnings have risen 2.4 percent over the last year, a decrease from the 2.6 percent rate reported in July.