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Hiring Slows In August, But Unemployment Dips To 6.1 Percent

The August jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics is a mixed one: It shows that hiring slowed in August, but the unemployment rate dipped a tenth of a percent.

Here are the two big numbers:

-- The economy added 142,000 jobs; way below the 200,000 level needed to continue pushing down the unemployment rate and way below that of the previous six months.

A chart showing the number of jobs added by U.S. employers since January of 2004.
/ Bureau of Labor Statistics
/
Bureau of Labor Statistics
A chart showing the number of jobs added by U.S. employers since January of 2004.

-- The unemployment rate, which is calculated using a survey, dipped back to 6.1 percent.

A chart showing the unemployment rate for the past year.
/ Bureau of Labor Statistics
/
Bureau of Labor Statistics
A chart showing the unemployment rate for the past year.

The Associated Press adds:

"Employers also added 28,000 fewer jobs in June and July than the government had previously estimated.

"August's job gains were far below the average monthly increase of 212,000 in the past 12 months. The slowdown was unexpected after most recent economic data suggested that the economy is growing at a healthy pace.

"Still, wage gains have been sluggish since the Great Recession ended in 2009, and consumers remain cautious. Consumer spending dipped in July, the first decline since January."

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.

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