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U.S. economy added 201,000 jobs in August with robust wage growth

Unemployment rate remains low 3.9%

September 07, 2018 - 8:41 am

WASHINGTON (AP) -- In August, the U.S. economy added 201,000 jobs and the unemployment rate held steady at 3.9%.

The real standout in the report was the gain in average hourly earnings, which rose 0.4% over last month and 2.9% over last year. Wages have been closely tracked for signs of building inflation pressures in the economy.

Nonfarm payrolls were expected to rise by 190,000 in August with the unemployment rate forecast to drop to 3.8%. Average hourly earnings were expected rise 0.2% over the prior month and 2.7% over the prior year.

“While the pace of employment growth disappointed in July, all indicators suggest hiring ramped back up towards trend in August,” Sam Bullard, senior economist at Wells Fargo, said ahead of the report.

“Initial jobless claims continue to trend in historically low territory, private sector assessment on employment conditions remains firmly in expansionary territory, and consumers’ net assessment of the labor market stands at its highest level since March 2001.”

In July, the U.S. economy added fewer jobs than expected with nonfarm payrolls growing by 157,000, though June’s figures were revised higher. During the three months ended in July, the economy has added an average of 224,000 jobs.

Friday’s report is the last employment report before the Federal Reserve’s next meeting — set for September 26 — at which the central bank is expected to raise interest rates for the third time this year.

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