WASHINGTON -- The United States added 169,000 jobs last month and the prior two months' job numbers were revised sharply lower, slashing July job growth to 104,000, the Labor Department reported Friday. August job growth fell below the average analyst estimate of 177,000.
The unemployment rate ticked down to 7.3%.The slight decline in the jobless rate was unexpected, and was due to fewer people participating in the labor force. Most analysts projected a 7.4% jobless rate, unchanged from July.
While manufacturing added 14,000 jobs, it was due to a large downward revision in July. “Auto manufacturers laid off way more workers than expected in July, then hired them back in August -- a traditional and seasonal trend, “ explained Scott Paul, president of the Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM).
Significant downward revisions to job growth for the prior two months cut 74,000 jobs. The July number was slashed to 104,000 from 162,000, and the June total was lowered to 172,000 from 188,000.
The private sector added 152,000 jobs, short of analyst expectations of 180,000.
“A record monthly trade deficit with China on Wednesday, followed by a weak jobs report today and revisions to previous unemployment figures all point to the same conclusion – a manufacturing jobs resurgence doesn’t exist, and it hasn’t for some time,” said Scott.
"Summer jobs numbers in manufacturing are often volatile with temporary layoffs in the auto sector, but one trend is clear: Men and women looking for manufacturing jobs are having a hard time finding them,” Scott added. “The 'skills gap' is, for now, still a myth. And President Obama’s goal of creating one million new manufacturing jobs is going nowhere. Congress must do more to help, but so must the Administration.
“Thanks to Washington’s inaction, we’ve let a potential recovery for the sector fizzle out, at least for now. "I believe such a resurgence is possible, but only with smart public policy support investing in infrastructure and innovation, taking on currency manipulators, and revamping vocational education.”