The United States created 235,000 jobs in August, according to the Employment Report (payroll) released on Friday (3) by the Department of Labor.
The number was well below expectations. The median of the survey by Refinitiv with economists projected the creation of 750,000 jobs outside the agricultural sector last month, after the creation of 943,000 jobs in July. Projections, however, varied widely, from 375 thousand to 1.027 million.
The expectation was for a slowdown in August after opening nearly 2 million jobs in the last two months, as the increase in Covid-19 cases reduced the demand for travel and entertainment, but a sufficient pace was still expected to sustain economic expansion. However, the number came even worse than Refinitiv’s most pessimistic estimate.
The unemployment rate dropped 0.2 percentage point, from 5.4% to 5.2%, in line with market expectations.
The payroll was highly anticipated by investors, especially after Jerome Powell’s speech at the annual Jackson Hole symposium on August 27, since the start of tapering (reduction of the bond purchase program by the monetary authority) would be conditioned to labor market numbers.
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