Job growth slowed much more than expected. Economists say it could rule out an interest rate hike this month, as Fred Katayama reports.
Job growth slowed in the U.S. in August. Employers added 151,000 to their payrolls. That was much less than expected, and it contrasts sharply with the strong job gains of the previous two months. The unemployment rate held steady at 4.9 percent, not dipping as economists had forecast. Americans worked fewer hours in August and saw slightly lower wage gains than in July. Sectors adding the most jobs: healthcare and social assistance, leisure and hospitality - especially restaurants - and professional services. Among those shrinking their payrolls: manufacturing, which broke its two-month hiring streak. Mining continued to shed jobs but at a slower pace. Futures traders trimmed their bets on an interest rate hike soon by the Federal Reserve. Allianz chief economic adviser Mohamed El-Erian said, "The mixed jobs report puts the Fed in a tricky situation. It's not all around strong enough to assure a September interest rate hike. But it's solid enough to engender a heated policy discussion." Fed policy makers meet to discuss rates on the 20th and 21st of this month.