The economy added 173,000 jobs in August while the unemployment rate fell to 5.1 percent, according to the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Analysts had expected 220,000 jobs to be added. That’s the lowest unemployment rate since March of 2008.
August jobs reports are frequently unreliable, however, and tend to get revised upward in later reports. The initial report tends to get an extra 90,000 jobs on average in later months, more than double the jobs added from revisions in other months. And revisions for June and July added an additional 44,000 jobs compared to what was originally reported.
August job growth was led by 56,000 in health care, 33,000 in professional and business services, 26,000 in food and drink services, and 19,000 in finance.
Wages rose by 8 cents in August following a 6-cent rise in July, but have risen just 2.2 percent over the last year, in line with record low rates.