The U.S. economy added 173,000 jobs in August, lower than expected, in a report that gave fuel to both sides of the rate-hike debate, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday.
In addition to the new jobs, the unemployment rate fell to 5.1 percent. A separate measure that includes those who have stopped looking for work or are working part time for economic reasons edged lower to 10.3 percent. The labor force participation rate remained mired near its lowest level since the late 1970s at 62.6 percent.
The U.S. was expected to create 220,000 jobs in August, with the unemployment rate falling to 5.2 percent. Equity indexes initially dropped after release of the jobs report, while bond yields moved higher.
"It's the same old, same old," said Scott Clemons, chief investment strategist at Brown Brothers Harriman. "This just continues the trend that we've seen where all sectors of employment continue to improve modestly."