Job growth in the United States slowed during August as companies added just 156,000 new jobs, but enough that it suggests most businesses are still confident in the economy nine years after beginning it recovery from the 2008 recession.
The rate of unemployment moved up to 4.4% from July’s 4.3% but still very low, said the Department of Labor on Friday. June and July jobs growth was revised downward by a total of 41,000 between the two months leaving a monthly gain on average for the first seven months of the year of 176,000.
The average pay per hour has increased only 2.5% over the past 12 months dating back to September of last year. Pay raises have typically averaged between 3.5% and 4% when the rate of unemployment is at this level.
The U.S. job market is remaining strong even though the U.S. economy has not grown at a strong annual pace during the first half of 2017. It annualized pace between January and the end of June was just 2.1%.
The jobs report on Friday comes during a time when Americans are more optimistic about the nation’s economy. A consumer confidence measure for August reached its highest point in the past 16 years, said the Conference Board this week.
Inflation remains low, as consumer spending rose in July at the fastest rate in the past three months. Stocks remain up 10% thus far in 2017. One measure of orders at factories suggests that there is an increase in business investment.
Even all the extensive damage that Hurricane and Tropical Storm Harvey around Houston is not likely to break the stride of the nation’s economy. Gas prices are beginning to rise as the storm knocked ports and refineries offline but any probable fallout will likely only be found over the upcoming two months in economic reports.
Still the U.S. economy in certain aspects appears to be less than strong, Auto sales are dropping, fewer homes are listed for sale and the tax relief President Trump promised to increase growth has an unclear path in Congress and Trump has not yet passed any major legislation.
Overall, this year’s hiring has had a monthly average of 176,000 which is in line roughly with the average of all of 2016 of 187,000 per month. August was the 83rd consecutive month with job gains.