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Unemployment Rate

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US Unemployment Rate

Employers added a disappointing 169,000 jobs in August, extending a midyear dip in the labor market amid federal spending cuts and a payroll tax increase.

The unemployment rate, which is calculated from a different survey of households, fell to 7.3% from 7.4%, the Labor Department said Friday. That’s the lowest since December 2008. However, the drop came because 312,000 Americans stopped working or looking for work — not because of a rise in employment.

Even more discouraging: the Labor Department revised down its estimate for job gains in June and July by a total 74,000. The payroll increase in June was revised to 172,000 from 188,000 and in July, from 162,000 to 104,000.

Economists’ consensus forecast was that 180,000 jobs were added last month. The report has been highly anticipated by investors because decent growth could persuade the Federal Reserve to begin dialing back its bond-buying stimulus at its Sept.17-18 policymaking meeting, as many economists expect.

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