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US Economy Adds Fewer Jobs Than Expected, Unemployment Falls to 6.1 Percent

U.S. job growth slowed sharply last month with employers adding only 142,000 jobs in August. That’s well below analyst expectations of more than 200,000 new hires.

But the disappointing job numbers had little impact on investors as Wall Street largely ignored the monthly employment data. Others saw it as just another blip on the long road to recovery.

For some job seekers, August was not a good month. Hiring fell to the slowest pace in eight months, and the previous estimate for June was revised lower by 28,000 jobs.

But if financial markets were worried, it didn’t show.

After the initial disappointment, stocks returned to positive territory. And despite fewer jobs in manufacturing and a decline in retail employment, many analysts are taking the long view.

“We’ve had a lot of other data points that have been pointing forward for the economy, and I think, once we get past this one month report, that we’ll see an economy that’s continuing to recover,” said bureau chief Mark Hamrick, who believes the August job numbers are a seasonal blip.

"It reinforces the Fed's view they'll be cautious with respect to changing policy. They'll finish QE3 October/November, but they won't be all that anxious to be raising interest rates in the springtime as some people had expected," said . Wells Fargo chief economist John Silvia.

Raising interest rates too soon could slow the recovery just as business optimism is starting to grow.

A new study by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants showed 20 percent of businesses surveyed expect to hire more staff.

“And so when the cost of capital goes up, that impacts people’s desire, their willingness to potentially invest, and they might be a little more cautious,” said AICPA Chair Valerie Rainey.

Seasonal aberration or not, U.S. unemployment fell 0.1 percent to 6.1 percent - likely because fewer people were looking for work.

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