Job creation appears to have slowed in August with the U.S. Labor Department reporting that the economy added only 151,000 jobs last month. That's about 30,000 fewer than economists were expecting and well below the 255,000 jobs added in July and 292,000 hires in June.
The national unemployment rate was unchanged at 4.9 percent. Many economists say hiring trends tend to be less reliable in August because many Americans are on holidays. They say hiring usually rebounds in September. Despite a weak start this year, employment gains have been one of the bright spots for the U.S. economy. And consumer confidence reached an 11 month high in August.
However, the smaller job gains in August are likely to dampen chances that the Federal Reserve will hike interest rates when central bank officials meet later this month. Many economists believe the Fed will raise rates before the end of the year, likely in December after the Presidential election.