U.S. Economy Adds 96,000 Jobs, Unemployment Dips To 8.1%

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. economy added 96,000 jobs in August, approximately 30,000 fewer than economists had predicted. Even with the slow job growth, the U.S. unemployment rate fell from 8.3 percent to 8.1 percent because the size of the work force and the labor force participation rate declined.

There are still 12.5 million unemployed people, according to data released by the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics today, and 5 million have been out of work for 27 weeks or longer. They account for 40 percent of the jobless looking for work.

Private sector employers added 103,000 jobs, offset by the loss of 7,000 government positions. The largest private sector gains came from food services and drinking places (+28,000), professional and technical services rose in August (+27,000) and health care (+17,000).

Job figures for June and July were revised downward, lowering the number of new jobs in June from 64,000 to 45,000 and in July from 163,000 to 141,000.

Since the beginning of this year, employment growth has averaged 139,000 per month, compared with an average monthly gain of 153,000 in 2011.

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