American companies added 173,000 jobs in August as the unemployment rate dropped from 5.3% to 5.1%. This is the lowest unemployment rate since March 2008. This key indicator will be weighed heavily by the Federal Reserve as they ponder late year rate hikes.
However, this reports looked weak as analysts and other financial experts looked for job gains in the 218,000 range according to USA Today. The August job growth found the federal and state governments adding 33,000 to their payrolls while private employers took on an additional 140,000 workers. Though disappointing for the most part, the revisions for June and July added an additional 44,000 jobs which has helped to offset some of the pessimism.
The average worker hourly salary made a gain of .08 to an average of $25.09 per hour nationwide. The Labor Department announced that they were please with the wage gains but admitted that there is much room for growth in that area.
The Federal Reserve will gather on September 16 and 17 to decide if they will raise the fed funds rate or not. Preliminary analysis concedes that the Fed was looking to raise the rate but may have to reconsider considering the slowing world economic picture and not exactly stellar news at home.
Many analysts are remaining upbeat as the numbers are likely to be revised due to seasonal workers being thoroughly accounted for as well as the start of a new school year with many new hires. Over the years the Federal Reserve has considered the 5% unemployment mark to be the sign of full employment here in the United States. Analysts and Fed watchers see the recent 5.1% mark as casting some pause and caution with regard to what the Fed may do with rates for the remainder of 2015.
Manufacturers had to cut 17,000 jobs because of sluggish exports due to a strong dollar overseas. Health Care was robust as it added 56,000 jobs. Hospitality and business services added 33,000. The number of part time workers wanting full employment rose by 150,00. The unemployment rate for those currently unemployed and looking for work combined with those who are so discouraged they have given up looking for employment came in at 10.3% for August.