FILE - This Thursday, Oct. 2, 2014, file photo, shows a Wall Street sign adjacent to the New York Stock Exchange. Stocks rose in early trading Friday, Aug. 26, 2016, following two days of declines after Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen gave an upbeat assessment on the U.S. economy. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File) (AP)

Payrolls in U.S. only climbed by 151,000 in August

Earlier estimates indicated that 20,000 to 30,000 more jobs would be created

Scott Eric Kaufman
September 2, 2016 6:18PM (UTC)

Friday's Labor Department report on job growth was more lackluster than expected, as payrolls only grew by 151,000 in August. That's well below the estimated 170,000 to 180,000 jobs ADP and Bloomberg predicted earlier this week.

According to Bloomberg's Michelle Jamrisko, these disappointing numbers could merely be the result of the "August curse," in which low response-rates on surveys due to vacations and the start of the school year have historically led to lower-than-expected growth reports. Nor is she alone in attributing this slowdown to the "August Curse."


"Payrolls were a bit weaker than generally expected in August, but there has been a clear tendency for the August data to be underreported initially and revised up later," said Jim O'Sullivan of High Frequency Economics.

However, as the National Association of Federal Credit Unions' Curt Long noted, "[w]hile this was a solid report overall, it nonetheless fell short of expectations. Job growth and wage gains both slowed, while the unemployment rate and labor-force participation remained at previous levels."

Barclays' Rob Martin and Michael Gapen opined that "[m]ost members will view this report as consistent with solid economic activity and will believe that ... activity will continue to pull inflation upward toward their target."

All in all, most analysts still consider the economy to be regaining the momentum it lost earlier in 2016.

Scott Eric Kaufman

Scott Eric Kaufman is an assistant editor at Salon. He taught at a university, but then thought better of it. Follow him at @scottekaufman or email him at

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