August jobs report released on Friday: Here's what to expect

All eyes will be on the Labor Department’s August jobs report early Friday morning, as investors look for insight about the strength of the employment market amid signs of creeping weakness in other pillars of the U.S. economy.

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As the U.S. continues the longest economic expansion on record, analysts surveyed by Refinitiv expect the economy to have created 158,000 jobs in August, a healthy number that’s just below average growth of 165,000 jobs. The unemployment rate, meanwhile, is expected to remain steady at 3.7 percent for the third consecutive month, near a 50-year low.

“In terms of relatively stability, the upcoming August employment reading should be no exception, with the emphasis on ‘should,'’’ said Mark Hamrick, senior economic analyst at Bankrate. “As a near-term guidepost, new claims for unemployment benefits remain on firm ground with no sharp upturn in layoffs. Consumer spending and sentiment have provided solid foundations for the U.S. economy.”

Investors will also watch for signs of wage growth, with average hourly earnings expeced to rise 3.1 percent from a year ago, down slightly from July’s 3.2 percent reading.

Last month, U.S. private sector hiring rebounded, with employers hiring 195,000 people, according to the ADP National Employment Report. That was well above analyst expectations of 149,000.