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US adds meagre 96,000 jobs in Aug, jobless rate falls to 8.1%

Published on Sep 7, 2012 8:57 PM
People wait in line to be interviewed for positions at an American Apparel clothing store on Aug 7, 2012 in New York City. -- PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON (AFP) - The United States (US) economy added a poor 96,000 jobs in August, but the overall jobless rate fell to 8.1 per cent from 8.3 per cent as more people dropped out of the labour market, the Labor Department said on Friday.

The number of net new jobs generated by the weak economy was lower than expected, and likely to strengthen the case at the Federal Reserve for more action to boost growth.

While the total number of official jobless fell to 12.5 million from 12.8 million people, the Labor Department's data showed a sharp decline in the size of the labour force and a rise in those not looking for jobs.

Moreover, the duration of unemployment for those looking for jobs - a key worry of Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke - was little-changed, with around 40 per cent still searching for work for more than 27 weeks.

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