May 24, 2013
US job growth grinds to a halt in August
US employment growth ground to a halt in August as sagging consumer confidence discouraged already skittish US businesses from hiring, keeping pressure on the Federal Reserve to provide more monetary stimulus to aid the economy.
Nonfarm payrolls were unchanged, the Labor Department said today, the weakest reading since September. Nonfarm employment for June and July was revised to show 58,000 fewer jobs.
Despite the lack of employment growth, the jobless rate held steady at 9.1 percent. The unemployment rate is derived from a separate survey of households, which showed an increase in employment and a tick up in the labor force participation rate.
While the report underscored the frail state of the economy, the hiring slowdown probably will not be seen as a recession signal as layoffs are not rising that much.
A strike by about 45,000 Verizon Communications workers helped push employment in the information services down by 48,000.
"August was a pretty rough month for the economy," said Ryan Sweet, a senior economist at Moody's Analytics in West Chester, Pennsylvania. "We saw financial markets tighten. I think businesses sort of responded by putting hiring on the back burner," he said before the release of the report.