U.S. Hiring Slows in August, Unemployment Rate Ticks Up

By Eric Morath and Ben LeubsdorfFeaturesDow Jones Newswires

The pace of hiring slowed in August while the U.S. unemployment rate edged up.

Nonfarm payrolls rose by a seasonally adjusted 156,000 in August from the prior month, the Labor Department said Friday. The unemployment rate rose to 4.4% from 4.3%, though the level remains historically low. And wages maintained a modest growth rate.

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Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal had expected 179,000 new jobs and a 4.3% unemployment rate last month.

Job growth the prior two months was revised lower. July's payroll gain was revised down to 189,000 and June's growth down to 210,000, a net decrease of 41,000. With the downward revisions, employment growth ao far this year has been slightly slower than last year's pace.

The latest data didn't reflect any disruptions caused by Hurricane Harvey and related flooding in Texas. The storm occurred too late in the month to be captured in government surveys.

Friday's report showed a sharp slowdown in hiring for leisure and hospitality jobs. Government employment declined for the second straight month.

Average hourly earnings for private-sector workers increased 3 cents last month to $26.39 an hour. From a year earlier, wages rose 2.5%, consistent with their growth pace for most of this year.

The labor-force participation rate held steady at 62.9% in August.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

September 01, 2017 08:45 ET (12:45 GMT)