The national unemployment rate declined in August to 7.3 percent from July's 7.4 percent but for all the wrong reasons -- employers added fewer jobs than were expected during the month, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The unemployment rate, which is the headline number of the report, did decline, but it was not because more people were working. It was because almost 200,000 who were unemployed gave up looking for work, the bureau said.
Additionally, the number of people who reported they had jobs fell by 115,000 in the monthly population survey.
The unemployment rate fell because 312,000 Americans dropped out of the labor force in August. Those numbers are seasonally adjusted to take into consideration spikes and dips in employment levels.
The bureau reported this morning that the economy added 169,000 jobs in August, fewer than economists had predicted. The number of new jobs added this year was further eroded to revisions to the June and July figures that took 74,000 jobs off previous estimates of the combined total for those months.
A separate survey of employers found that manufacturing added 14,000 jobs, including 400 in primary metals, such as iron and steel production.
Health care added 32,700 jobs and government gained 17,000 with the hiring of 20,100 people for the public schools, eclipsing the loss of 3,000 workers in state governments.
Ann Belser: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-1699.