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U.S. Adds 315,000 Jobs In August, Unemployment Rises to 3.7%

The U.S. economy added 315,000 jobs in August, just below estimates of 318,000.

This number represents a dip from July, which saw 526,000 jobs added, according to a newly revised figure from the Bureau of Labor Statistics on Friday

The unemployment rate rose to 3.7% from last month’s 3.5%.

Notable job gains were present across professional and business services, health care, and retail trade. Employment in retail trade increased by 44,000 in August and by 422,000 over the last year. Employment increased in general merchandise store, food and beverage stores, health and personal care stores, and building material and garden supply stores and decreased in furniture and home furnishings stores.

At 3.7%, the unemployment rate rose slightly from June, with 6 million people unemployed in August.

Average hourly earnings rose by 10 cents, or 0.3%, to $32.36 in August. Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings have increased by 5.2%. Meanwhile, inflation continues to soar while showing some signs of improvement.

Consumer prices, while up 8.5% in July from a year ago, have begun to show signs of cooling from a 40-year high of 9.1% in June. Energy prices fell 4.6% in July, while gasoline prices dipped 7.7%.

Amid the high prices, retail sales growth has remained relatively stable. July retail sales totaled $682.8 billion, according to a monthly report from the U.S. Census Bureau. This marked little change from the numbers in June, which were amended to reflect $682.6 billion. However, sales were up 10.3% compared with July 2021.

The jobs news comes amid a slowdown in the broader economy that is facing notable headwinds, including inflation, interest rate hikes and a volatile stock market.

“As we come to the end of the summer, economic indicators are signaling an unsteady U.S. expansion in the face of several headwinds,” the National Retail Federation’s chief economist Jack Kleinhenz said in a statement on Thursday. “These factors are all contributing to the debate on whether the economy is already in a recession, but key indicators disagree on whether we are there yet.”

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