According to the latest figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the US economy added 142,000 jobs in August 2014, less than the lowest estimate.
The unemployment rate dipped to 6.1% from 6.2% in July 2014.
The world’s largest economy had been averaging a monthly jobs gain of 212,000 in the previous 12 months.
Part of the sluggish jobs growth was attributed to a loss of 17,000 food and beverage jobs as a result of a supermarket store strike.
Thousands of employees of the Market Basket chain of supermarkets in the northeastern US had gone on strike in July to protest the firing of their boss. The dispute was resolved late last week.
US markets did not react strongly to the news, with all three indexes dipping just slightly lower in early morning trading in New York.
There were some bright spots in the August jobs report: wage growth, a crucial sign of the strength of the US economy, ticked up slightly.
Average hourly earnings are now growing at 2.1% year over year. US Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen has previously indicated that wages are a crucial factor in the Fed’s analysis of the state of the health of the US jobs market.
Employment in the car industry also dipped less than expected, as fewer workers were laid off for factory retooling.
Jobs growth in the professional and business services also continued to lead the recovery, with an additional 47,000 jobs adding in August, bringing the yearly total to 639,000.
Most analysts believe that the sluggish August figure will give central bankers pause for thought as they consider when to end the Fed’s extraordinary support of the US economy.
The Fed is scheduled to meet on September 16-17.
Many have wondered whether or not so-called “hawks”, who favor increasing interest rates, would be able to persuade other members of the committee to move forward the bank’s plans to raise interest rates from their historically low levels of 0%.
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