Job creation in August, according to the latest figures released by the Labor Department, was within the trend of modest growth that has characterized recent U.S. economic performance.
Together with the downward revision of 74,000 jobs in June and July, the 169,000 new nonfarm jobs created in August are close to this year's monthly average.
Even so, the unemployment rate in August decreased to 7.3 percent, from 7.4 percent, because 312,000 persons, for different reasons, stopped looking for a job. Therefore, the unemployment rate is approaching the 6.5 percent anticipated by the central bank as the threshold to start increasing interest rates.
To be counted as unemployed, a person has to be actively looking for a job. As long as this is the case, that person is also counted as member of the country's workforce.
Some of the reasons for a person to leave the ranks of the workforce may be related to aging or retirement, going to school, or becoming self-employed.
However, in August the number of persons employed or looking for a job -- known as the labor force participation rate -- fell to 63.2 percent, the lowest figure since August 1978.
There is not much in these latest employment figures to persuade the central bank to change the monetary policy stance. The widely expected answer will come on Sept. 18, at the conclusion in Washington of the next Federal Reserve meeting.
Isaac Cohen: Analista y consultor internacional, ex-Director de la Oficina de la CEPAL en Washington. Comentarista de economía y finanzas de CNN en Español TV y radio.
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