As a wide range of analysts and economists report, there is evidence for both sides of the debate because of the lower number of new jobs and the drop in unemployment.
Eagerly awaited, this Report is the final piece of data for the Federal Reserve prior to its September meeting on interest rate changes.
Positive vs. Negative News
Although fewer jobs were created in August than expected, the unemployment rate fell to 5.1%, beating expectations. That's the lowest rate since April, 2008. Some believe this signals the end of the seven-year economic downturn and a return to fuller employment.
Most received the report as mixed news because of the job and unemployment conflicting indicators, according to The New York Times. But the Report did not halt the recent financial market slide; the Wall Street Journal reports that stocks still declined after the Report's release.
Where Were the Job Gains and Loses?
Sector gains were in health care and social assistance (both child care and elderly services), as well as in financial activities. Two sectors which lost jobs were manufacturing and mining.
Highlights of the August Monthly Jobs Report include:
- Nonfarm payrolls increased 173,000, "far short of the expectation of 220,000 new jobs"
- Average hourly earnings grew 0.3%, higher than forecast and above July’s report
- The number of long-term unemployed held steady, but declined by 779,000 over a 12 month period
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