The Job Market’s Hot Streak Just Snapped

You’re going to have to keep waiting in line.

Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

It’s all over, folks. Payrolls grew by just 142,000 in August, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, well below expectations. Previously, the economy had added at least 200,000 jobs for six months straight, something that hadn’t happened since 1997. The streak was nice while it lasted.

Meanwhile, the unemployment rate (6.1 percent) and labor force participation rate (62.8 percent) barely changed. On the bright side, average hourly earnings are up 2.1 percent for the year. 

It’s always important to take the long view on the jobs report, which will be revised in the coming months—though probably not enough to put August over the 200,000 mark. But that view is pretty dull. The three-month rolling average of job creation has fallen back into the same range it’s been hovering around for roughly the past two years. It’s the same old story, plodding along.