US employers add 169K jobs, rate falls to 7.3 pct.

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Associated Press
Web Editor - Ryan Burkett

WASHINGTON (AP) - U.S. employers added 169,000 jobs in August and much fewer in July than previously thought. The slowdown in hiring could complicate the Federal Reserve's decision later this month on whether to slow its bond purchases.
   
The Labor Department says the unemployment rate dropped to 7.3 percent, the lowest in nearly five years. But it fell because more Americans stopped looking for work and were no longer counted as unemployed. The proportion of Americans working or looking for work fell to its lowest level in 35 years.
   
July's job gains were just 104,000, the fewest in more than a year and down from the previous estimate of 162,000.
   
Employers have added an average of 148,000 jobs in the past three months, well below the 12-month average of 184,000.

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While the official unemployment rate dropped by one-tenth of one percent, the government's broadest measure of unemployment, known as the U-6, fell from July's 14.0 percent rate to 13.7 percent in August. This marks the second straight month with a 0.3 percent drop in the U-6 rate and brings the number down to its lowest point since December 2008.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics measures the U-6 rate by taking the official unemployment rate, known as U-3, and adding in "marginally attached workers and those who wish to work full-time but are working part-time for economic reasons." Workers who are "marginally attached" include those who wish to gain employment but have stopped searching for various reasons.

Meanwhile, the labor force participation rate dipped from July's rate of 63.4 percent to 63.2 percent in August. The number remains down from 63.6 percent at the beginning of 2013 and 63.5 percent a year ago. For a month-by-month chart of the labor force participation rate over the past 10 years, courtesy of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, click here.

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