The US added 173,000 jobs in August, the Department of Labor said on Friday, in the last unemployment report before September’s interest rate decision by the Federal Reserve.
That was below the 217,000 predicted by analysts, although the Labor Department said that figures for August tend to be revised higher subsequently. The unemployment rate fell to 5.1% – down from the July figure of 5.3%.
The rate is the lowest since April 2008. Wall Street headed lower following the numbers.
European stock markets, which had been trading lower before the data was released, extended their losses, with the FTSE 100 in London closing down by 2.44% and indexes in Paris and Frankfurt dropping by 2.81% and 2.71% respectively.
There were upward revisions to the number of jobs created in the previous two months, which added another 44,000 jobs. The revised figure for July was 245,000 jobs. The weaker-than-expected August number could make Fed officials think twice about increasing rates when they meet on 16-17 September.