The jobs numbers disappointed.
Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 130,000 in August, and the unemployment rate was unchanged at 3.7 percent, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Wall Street had been betting on a 150,000 gain and economists pointed to the fact that August’s increase was boosted by the government hiring temporary census workers.
Job growth has averaged 158,000 per month thus far this year, below the average monthly gain of 223,000 in 2018, the BLS said.
A breakdown of the numbers showed that retail trade employment changed little in August, declining 11,000. Within that, employment at department stores fell 8,500 and at clothing and clothing accessories stores by 2,900.
Average hourly earnings, meanwhile, rose by 11 cents to $28.11, following 9-cent gains in both June and July. Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings have increased by 3.2 percent.
Paul Ashworth, chief U.S. economist at Capital Economics, said: “The 130,000 gain in non – farm payroll employment in August was flattered by the hiring of 25,000 temporary workers to help prepare for next year’s census. More generally, there has been a clear slowdown in trend employment growth, particularly in the private sector, with the six-month average monthly gain below 150,000.”