Employers created 130,000 new jobs in August. The unemployment rate remained constant at 3.7%.
The economy has created new jobs 107 consecutive months, but the pace of recruitment has recently slowed. The United States has created an average of 158,000 jobs this year, compared to 223,000 in 2018.
Labor recruitment was boosted in the run up to the US census next year, when the government hired 25,000 temporary workers to help the nationwide project.
Wages rose a healthy 3.2% last year. This was slightly better than expected by economists and could help maintain low inflation.
The African American unemployment rate fell dramatically from 6% to 5.5%. This was a record low for the data collected since 1
Spanish unemployment dropped from 4.5% to 4.2%. The racial unemployment rate is sometimes volatile.
Cracks show up
Despite the overall solid employment picture, some weaknesses show up.
"This is because it is difficult to find workers with the right qualifications because unemployment is only 3.7%," said James Knightley, chief economist at ING. "However, with increasing caution regarding the international environment and uncertainty in the retail sector, companies may also become more cautious when hiring."
The escalating trade war between the United States and China has created uncertainty in hiring in sectors affected by tariffs such as manufacturing.
Last month, only 3,000 jobs were created in this sector that were below expectations – half of this year an average of 6,000 and less than a quarter compared to July. In 2018, the average monthly employment growth in manufacturing was 22,000.
"The trade war is not overhanging the economy, and recession clouds are not obscuring the sky, but the outlook remains a question mark as the headwind of Chinese tariffs has not yet reached full force," said Chris Rupkey. Chief Financial Economist at MUFG.
Can the Fed save the day?
Expectations of a quarter-point reduction at the September 18th meeting are 94% .