U.S. employers hired more workers than expected in August, which marked the 20th straight month of job growth, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday.
Nonfarm payrolls increased by 315,000 jobs last month, just below the Dow Jones estimate for 318,000 and well off the 526,000 revised in July and the lowest monthly gain since April 2021.
The unemployment rate rose to 3.7%, slightly two-tenths of a percentage point higher than expectations. Employment is now 240,000 jobs above its pre-pandemic level.
The increase in hiring in August was led by the professional and business services industry, which added 68,000 jobs.
According to the Bureau wages continued to rise, though slightly less than expectations. Average hourly earnings increased 0.3% for the month and 5.2% from a year ago, both 0.1 percentage point below estimates.
As the Federal Reserve fights to control inflation that is running near its fastest pace in more than 40 years, a moderate wage growth and a rise in the unemployment rate could ease pressure on the Central Bank to deliver a third 75 basis point interest rate hike this month.
The Fed has delivered interest rate hikes totaling 2.25 percentage points that are expected to continue into next year.