The Department of Labor released its initial report on August non-farm payrolls this morning. Job growth in August was a sub-par 96k jobs created. The unemployment rate fell to 8.1% though, as more people left the workforce. Consensus on Wall Street had been for a 125,000 increase in the number of jobs last month. That number is slightly below the number of jobs needed to keep up with population growth.
Job growth for June and July were also revised down by 41k jobs. And average hourly earnings were flat.
More than the latest polls after the conventions, today’s report will have an enormous gravitational pull on the campaigns. When Obama was sworn into office, the unemployment rate stood at just over 7%. With today’s report, we’ve had 42 straight months with an unemployment rate about 8%. No modern President has won reelection with an unemployment rate above 8%.
Check back here throughout the day for analysis and perspective on today’s report.