US employment rises again in August

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Stall vendor in the US Image copyright Getty Images

The expanding US economy added another 151,000 jobs in August, according to the US Labor Department.

That was a smaller increase than the average monthly rise of 204,000 seen in the previous 12 months.

The figure for the country’s “non-farm payrolls” shows that the number of people out of work was unchanged at 7.8 million in August.

That gave an official unemployment rate of 4.9%, also unchanged from July, the Labor department said.

Many US economists had expected a larger rise in the number of jobs being created, in line with the 190,000 jobs per month added during the previous three months.

The US economy has been expanding steadily since the end of the last recession in 2009.

The continued expansion of employment in the US may raise the chances that the central bank, the Federal Reserve, raises interests rates later this year, most probably in December.

Last week Janet Yellen, the chairwoman of the Federal Reserve, said the country’s economic growth and a stronger jobs market meant “the case for an increase in the federal funds rate has strengthened in recent months”.

Chris Williamson, chief economist at the financial data service Markit, said: “The data-dependent Fed will most likely see the payroll numbers as taking pressure off any immediate need to hike interest rates, significantly reducing the scope for further policy action in September.”

“However, with survey data suggesting some of the recent slowdown in hiring and business activity is due to uncertainty ahead of the presidential election, a rate rise later in the year, most likely December, remains on the table providing the economic data flow picks up again in the fourth quarter.”

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