The numbers: The U.S. regained 1.4 million jobs in August and the unemployment rate posted a surprisingly large drop to 8.4%, suggesting an economic recovery is still plowing ahead even if the pace of growth has slowed since the start of the summer.
The increase in hiring last month exceeded Wall Street’s forecast. Economists polled by MarketWatch had forecast a 1.2 million gain. U.S. stocks fell in Friday trades.
The employment picture was a bit softer after stripping out the hiring of 238,000 temporary Census workers and those who work in public education.
Private-sector hiring rose by 1 million, down from 1.48 million in July, the government said Friday.
The most positive news was a big reduction in the official jobless rate to 8.4% from 10.2%, marking the fourth straight decline from a pandemic peak of 14.7%. A separate survey of households showed a much larger