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U.S. Economy Adds Jobs; Unemployment Drops

Employers added 128,000 jobs to their payrolls in August, and the unemployment rate fell to 4.7 percent. The Labor Department's monthly employment report presents a picture of an economy that is still expanding, but at a more moderate pace.

Economists say the gradual slowdown indicates the Federal Reserve seems to be succeeding in keeping inflation in check without choking off job growth.

Wall Street cheered the jobs report, as stocks rose on word that the economy is growing -- but not growing too fast.

More than a quarter of the 128,000 new jobs created last month were in healthcare. And after years of staying pretty flat, average wages for U.S. workers are up 3.9 percent from last year, before adjustments for inflation.

But the elephant in the room for many economists is the national housing market. Most don't see a broad crash coming. But if that happens -- as some think it might -- it would mean severe layoffs of construction workers, realtors, and people in the mortgage industry, as well as a jolt to consumer confidence.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

NPR correspondent Chris Arnold is based in Boston. His reports are heard regularly on NPR's award-winning newsmagazines Morning Edition, All Things Considered, and Weekend Edition. He joined NPR in 1996 and was based in San Francisco before moving to Boston in 2001.

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