Job growth rates saw a slight slowdown in August, with employers adding 130,000 jobs, a bit less than the average 158,000 jobs per month this year.
The unemployment rate remained steady at 3.7% and the economy has gained jobs for 107 consecutive months, although at a slower rate in past months. In comparison, last year the U.S. added an average of 223,000 jobs monthly.
The country has also hired 25,000 temporary workers to help with next year’s census, giving hiring a huge boost, CNN writes. Unemployment rates also fell among African-Americans to 5.5% from 6%, particularly among women. Hispanic unemployment fell to 4.2% from 4.5%.
Wages saw an increase of 3.2% in the past year, a bit better than projections by economists, promising to help inflation, which has kept low.
However, some weaknesses are beginning to show, likely “due to the difficulty in finding workers with the right skill sets given unemployment remains just 3.7%,” says James Knightley, chief international economist at ING. “However, given creeping caution about the international backdrop and uncertainty on trade, firms may be increasingly cautious about hiring too.”
CNN writes that the ongoing trade war between China and the United States has likewise been cause for concerns about hiring in some sectors including manufacturing. Last month’s hiring numbers were half of what experts expected and less than a quarter compared with the July figure.
“The trade war isn’t pushing the economy over a cliff, and recession clouds are not darkening the skies, but the outlook remains a question mark as the China tariff headwinds have not reached full strength yet,” said Chris Rupkey, a chief financial economist at MUFG.
The August trend raises expectations that by the end of this month, the Federal Reserve will cut interest rates for the second time this year and since the 2008 financial crisis.