The U.S. economy added 142,000 jobs in August—a slowdown after months of relatively strong growth.
The economy had added more than 200,000 a job for the six previous months, fueling analysts’ expectations that 230,000 jobs would be added.
The August numbers were weaker than predicted and also put a damper on some of the job growth earlier this summer. The Bureau of Labor Statistics said there were 28,000 fewer jobs created in June and July than had been initially reported.
The unemployment rate actually fell slightly from 6.2% to 6.1%. However, the labor force participation rate—the proportion of those working or actively looking for jobs—edged downward slightly as well.
There are signs, however, that at least some of the slowdown is temporary. Retail was one of the major sectors to see job losses, with the food and beverage sector losing 17,000 jobs in August. But BLS attributed some of this loss to ”employment disruptions at a grocery store chain in New England,” appearing to refer to the Market Basket chain, where employees walked off the job to protest the ouster of their company’s CEO.
The disappointing jobs report comes on the heels of brighter economic news: Last week, the economic growth rate for the second quarter of 2014 was revised upward to 4.2%.
“While it’s yet to be seen whether this slower job growth is an anomaly or a new trend, these numbers should give us pause. Adding in this month’s disappointing numbers, job growth this year is still above last year’s average at this time,” the Economic Policy Institute said in a statement.