The U.S. job market’s hot streak is over.
Employers added only 142,000 jobs in August, the smallest gain in eight months, according to data release Friday by the U.S. Department of Labor.
That ended six consecutive months of at least 200,000 hires. The average monthly job growth during the past year has been 212,000 jobs per month.
The national unemployment rate was virtually unchanged – 6.1 percent, down from 6.2 percent in July – but that was because more people stopped looking for work and were no longer counted as unemployed.
Also, job figures from June and July were revised, and not for the good: employers added 28,000 fewer jobs during those two months than were previously reported, according to the data.
Retail lost 8,400 jobs in August, the largest of any sector, while manufacturing was flat. Transportation and logistics added 1,200 jobs last month after adding more than 19,000 in July, the report stated.
The decline was a surprise because recent economic data suggested the economy was growing at a healthy pace. However, August is a volatile jobs month, with seasonal adjustments for Labor Day and school reopening.
One local economist called the report a “blip,” and said the economy is still in recovery.
“Even in the strongest recoveries there’s an occasional down month,” said Chris Thornberg, principal with Beacon Economics in Los Angeles. “Besides, you can’t judge the job market on one month’s data, because there are too many factors involved. I don’t think there’s anything to worry about.”