Hiring slowed in August as unemployment rate ticked up

Fewer Americans found jobs in August, signaling the labor market may finally be slowing along with the rest of the economy.

Employers added 351,000 jobs, down from over 528,000 last month and in line with economists’ expectations. The unemployment rate ticked up to 3.7% from 3.5% as more people entered the labor force and were counted as unemployed.

“The August jobs report came in significantly lower than the July report. However, the economy is still adding jobs at a rate higher than the long-term average, and the job total is now 240,000 higher than the pre-pandemic level,” Lisa Sturtevant, chief economist at Bright MLS, said in a note.

“The Fed had been hoping to see a slower pace of job growth after the very strong July jobs report. The downtick in employment growth in August may be a sign that the Federal Reserve’s policies are starting to have an impact,” she added.

The Federal Reserve has been hiking interest rates to weaken the job market as it tries to tackle soaring inflation.

Hiring has been one bright spot in a slowing economy: While the government estimates the economy shrank in the first six months of this year — an informal definition of a recession — employers have added an average of 440,000 jobs per month over the past three months, a blockbuster figure. 

This is a developing story.

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