U.S. employers, government and private, added 142,000 jobs in August, a surprise decline after adding average 200,000 jobs every month for six months in a row, the Labor Department said today.
The first estimates are generally revised two more times and the August data is likely to be revised higher.
The unemployment rate declined to 6.1% in the month from 6.2% in July, the government agency said according to a separate survey.
The six month long stretch of more than 200,000 monthly job addition was the longest since 1997.
In August, federal, state and local governments added 8,000 jobs and private sector added 134,000 driven by business services and healthcare.
The agency also revised June employment data higher to 267,000 from 298,000 and July’s data to 212,000 from 209,000.
The average work week was unchanged at 34.5 hours and was steady for the sixth straight month in a row and hourly earnings increased 6 cents to $24.35, an increase of 2.1% from a year ago.
The underemployment rate declined to 12% from 12.2% and the broader measure of unemployment counts unemployed, discouraged workers who are no longer looking for work and part-time employees who prefer full-time work.
The long-term unemployed workers declined by 192,000 to 3 million and still make about 31% of all people looking for work.