U.S. employers added no jobs in August, shocking market expectations, the Labor Department reported Friday.
July and June were revised down by 58,000 jobs, showing a weaker labor market than economists thought up to now.
The unemployment rate remained steady at 9.1% as the labor force increased by 366,000.
Total private payrolls were up 17,000, the smallest increase in 18 months. Manufacturers cut 3,000 jobs, their first decline in 10 months. A significant drop of 48,000 in the information sector stemmed from the Verizon strike, which subtracted about 45,000 jobs during the survey week.
Government sector payrolls fell 17,000 compared to 71,000 in July. Approximately 20,000 Minnesota state workers returned to their jobs after a government shutdown, adding jobs in that category. State and local employment fell by 15,000 while federal employment was down 2,000.
The latest survey of economists by Thomson Reuters showed a median expectation of 75,000 total new jobs and a 105,000 increase in private payrolls. The unemployment rate forecast was 9.1%.
Average hourly earnings fell 0.1% for non-supervisory workers. The workweek for all private workers dipped to 33.5 hours.