August Payrolls Up Just 96,000

Smaller-than-expected gain suggests U.S. jobs market is stagnating.

Payrolls rose less than projected in August and the unemployment rate was unexpectedly driven down by Americans leaving the labor force, boosting the odds of additional Federal Reserve easing to spur a faltering recovery.

The economy added 96,000 workers last month following a revised 141,000 increase in July that was smaller than initially estimated, Labor Department figures showed today in Washington. The median estimate of 92 economists surveyed by Bloomberg called for a gain of 130,000. Unemployment fell to 8.1 percent, and hourly earnings were unchanged.

Economists’ Forecasts

The jobless rate fell from 8.3 percent as 368,000 Americans left the labor force. Unemployment was forecast to hold at 8.3 percent, according to the survey median. Estimates in the Bloomberg survey ranged from 8.1 percent to 8.4 percent.

Pulling Back

Others are looking to pull back. Mountain View, California- based Google Inc. said on Aug. 13 it will cut about 4,000 positions at its Motorola Mobility Holdings Inc. unit, with about one-third of the reductions coming in the U.S. Printer maker Lexmark International Inc. on Aug. 28 announced plans to eliminate 1,700 jobs globally.

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