The unemployment rate remained steady at 3.7 percent, near a 50-year low, while the labor force participation rate was little changed at 63.2 percent. Average hourly earnings, meanwhile, rose 3.2 percent over the past year to $28.11. That was slightly higher than projections of 3.1 percent.
Economists expected employers to add 158,000 jobs, in line with average growth this year but sharply below the 2018 average of 223,000. The June and July jobs numbers were trimmed by a combined 20,000, the Labor Department said Friday.
Employment in the federal government increased in the last full month of summer, but mostly reflected the hiring of temporary workers for the 2020 census. Excluding those employees, August payrolls grew by 105,000 jobs.