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Expand chart
Data: Bureau of Labor Statistics; Chart: Axios Visuals

The U.S. economy added 130,000 jobs in August — less than the 150,000 economists expected — while the unemployment rate held at 3.7%, the Labor Department said on Friday.

Why it matters: The slowdown could be the first sign that companies may be beginning to pull back on hiring, after the economic uncertainty from the U.S.-China trade war that's put a dent in business spending.

The details: The report also said hiring in prior months was less impressive than previously thought.

  • June's job gains were 178,000 rather than 193,000, according to the revised numbers, while July added 5,000 fewer jobs than initially estimated.
  • August's job gains were boosted by government hiring, "largely reflecting the hiring of temporary workers for the 2020 Census," according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics' release.

Between the lines: In the face of other deteriorating economic indicators, the labor market has continued to flex its strength.

  • But the Federal Reserve has been watching the U.S.-China trade war and the uncertainty that's rattled businesses across the country. Despite the solid labor market at the time, the Fed cut interest rates at its last policy meeting, and it's expected to further trim rates later this month.
  • Minutes before the release of the jobs report, President Trump continued his attack on the Fed, tweeting, in part: "...the Fed should lower rates. They were WAY too early to raise, and Way too late to cut - and big dose quantitative tightening didn’t exactly help either. Where did I find this guy Jerome? Oh well, you can’t win them all!"

The bottom line: August marks the 107th straight month of job growth — continuing its impressive stretch — and the job gains last month came in above the amount necessary to keep up with population growth.

  • Yes, but: The pace of hiring is slowing. This year, job growth has averaged 158,000 per month vs. last year's average monthly gain of 223,000.

This post has been updated with more details from the report.

Go deeper

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
2 hours ago - Economy & Business

Peloton's wild ride and possible buyers

Illustration: Megan Robinson/Axios

Peloton is having a bumpy ride, and has become a source of fascination among even those who've never invested or clipped in.

Driving the news: On Monday, a hedge fund with less than a 5% stake in Peloton called for CEO John Foley to be fired and for the connected fitness company to consider seeking a strategic buyer. Shares gained nearly 10% on the news, but remained down 16.2% for the year and off 80% their December 2020 peak.

Scoop: Republicans probe NBC over Beijing Olympics coverage

Photo: Oscar del Pozo/AFP via Getty Images

Republican leaders on the House Energy and Commerce Committee have sent a letter to NBC Universal executives voicing concerns about "the extent of influence the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) may have over NBCUniversal’s coverage of the games."

Why it matters: The human rights abuses committed by the CCP have been the subject of intense scrutiny ahead of this year's Winter Games in Beijing. Activists last year sent a letter to NBC executives urging the network to cancel plans to cover the Olympics.

Scoop: Trump's new social network quietly courting influencers

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

Former President Trump’s elusive new social media network Truth Social — which plans to go public — is reaching out to internet influencers asking them to “reserve their spots” for when it launches in February or March.

Why it matters: The outreach doesn’t mention Trump’s name or affiliation. Some influencers suggest that could be a ploy to enlist their support without realizing the affiliation.

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