U.S. Labor Department reports sluggish gains in employment

The U.S. economy added a modest 169,000 new jobs in August, and the national unemployment rate fell to 7.3 percent from 7.4 percent, according to the latest report issued today by the U.S. Department of Labor.

The unemployment rate ticked down because fewer people were searching for work, according to the report.

Employment gains for July and June were lowered by a combined 74,000, with the biggest revision taking place in July, the Labor Department said. The number of new jobs created in July was slashed to 104,000 from 162,000 — the smallest gain since June 2012. And June’s job gains were trimmed to 172,000 from 188,000.

Furthermore, the labor force participation rate fell to 63.2 percent, the lowest level since the summer of 1978. The participation rate measures how many healthy, working-age people 16 and older are looking for jobs.

In Wisconsin, the number of initial unemployment claims filed last week dipped slightly to 7,165 from 7,537 in the previous week. The state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for July was 6.8 percent.

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