Labor report of 151K new jobs good, but not great for Fed rate hike outlook

WASHINGTON, Sept. 2 (UPI) — The U.S. Department of Labor released its jobs report for August on Friday, which said slightly more than 150,000 jobs were added for the month.

“Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 151,000 in August, and the unemployment rate remained at 4.9 percent,” the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics said in its report Friday. “Employment continued to trend up in several service-providing industries.”

Analysts said the labor statistics were positive, but not great.

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“It confirms that the economy is performing well, but does not provide the threat of overheating that might have caused an interest-rate increase sooner rather than later,” Carl Tannenbaum, chief economist at Northern Trust, said.

“The August employment report shows that we’re continuing a steady recovery,” Labor Secretary Thomas Perez said in a statement. “With this report, the private sector has added 15.1 million jobs since February 2010, and we are in the middle of the longest streak of overall job growth on record. The unemployment rate held steady at 4.9 percent – more than cut in half since the depths of the recession.”

U.S. Department of Labor/Twitter

August’s performance is good enough to keep the domestic economy on track, experts said, but probably not good enough for the Federal Reserve to raise benchmark interest rates at this month’s policy meeting.

The Fed has raised rates just once, in December, since the U.S. economy emerged from the financial crisis and has yet to do so in 2016. Early this year, the Fed estimated it would raise rates a couple times before 2017 started.

Policymakers have said one of the primary reasons they’ve left key interest rates unchanged is because inflation remains below the 2 percent target range.

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“The Committee will assess realized and expected economic conditions relative to its objectives of maximum employment and 2 percent inflation,” the Fed said in the minutes report from its July meeting.

“We still have more work to do to ensure that more people get to share in the prosperity they help to create. Labor Day reminds us of the importance of all workers having a voice in the workplace,” Perez added. “The Obama administration remains committed to helping workers fight for fairness in a dynamic economy, on Labor Day and every day. It’s how we build an economy that works for everyone.”

The U.S. central bank’s Federal Open Market Committee will meet for two days on Sept. 20 and 21.

DOL Aug Report

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