US Payrolls Rise by More Than Forecast While Wage Growth Cools

US hiring picked up in August and wage growth slowed, offering a mixed picture of both resilience and moderation in the labor market.

Nonfarm payrolls rose by 187,000 after the prior two months were revised significantly lower, a Bureau of Labor Statistics report showed Friday. The unemployment rate climbed to 3.8%, largely reflecting a pickup in participation, and wage growth slowed.

The payrolls figure also includes a combined drop of 54,000 in the film and trucking industries, largely reflecting an entertainment strike and the shutdown of a major carrier, the report showed.

Metric Actual Median Estimate
Change in payrolls (MoM) +187k +170k
Unemployment rate 3.8% 3.5%
Average hourly earnings (MoM) +0.2% +0.3%

The labor market has been the stalwart of the US economy this year, supporting renewed momentum that may help the nation avert recession — at least in the near term. While job openings and wage gains have both retreated in recent months, hiring and incomes are still firm enough to bolster consumer spending.

That said, Friday’s report offered fresh signs that hiring hasn’t been as strong as previously reported. June and July payroll gains were revised lower by 110,000, following data last week that estimated US job growth was probably less robust in the year through March.