US employment figures prove disappointing

The government's survey of employers showed hiring slowed sharply during August to 96,000, down from 141,000 in July and well below the 125,000 forecast figure.

  • The unemployment rate, which is derived from a separate survey of households, fell because the workforce shrank by 368,000 during the month.
  • The participation rate, a measure of the people employed compared to the size of the workforce, fell to 63.5 percent in August - the lowest since September 1981 - from 63.7 percent a month earlier.
  • A big drag on hiring came from the manufacturing sector, where payrolls dropped by 15,000.