WASHINGTON (AP) — It's an unexpected slowdown in hiring, after some recent numbers suggesting that the economy was growing at a healthy pace.
The government reports that employers added just 142,000 jobs in August. It snapped a six-month streak in which more than 200,000 jobs were added each month.
Patrick O'Keefe of the consulting firm Cohn-Reznick says the report is puzzling. He says the tepid job growth is inconsistent with surveys showing businesses and consumers gaining confidence.
But Paul Ashworth, an economist at Capital Economics, says it's "probably just an isolated blip." Still, he expects the report to bring speculation that "the U.S. recovery is somehow coming off the rails again."
The weaker-than-expected figures make it unlikely that the Federal Reserve will speed up its timetable for raising interest rates. Most analysts expect the first rate hike around the middle of next year.
Despite the smaller job gains, the unemployment rate fell to 6.1 percent from 6.2 percent. That was because more people without jobs stopped looking for one and were no longer counted as unemployed.
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