WASHINGTON — U.S. employers added 96,000 jobs in August, a tepid figure that points to the economy's persistent weakness and slowing prospects for the unemployed.
The unemployment rate fell to 8.1 percent from 8.3 percent in July. But that was only because more people gave up looking for jobs. People out of work are counted as unemployed only if they're looking for a job.
The sluggish job growth could slow the momentum President Barack Obama hoped to gain from his speech Thursday night to the Democratic National Convention.
It could also make the Federal Reserve more likely to unveil a new bond-buying program at its meeting next week. The goal would be to lower long-term interest rates to encourage borrowing and spending.
Hourly pay fell in August, manufacturers cut the most jobs in two years and the number of people in the work force dropped to its lowest level in 31 years. The government also said 41,000 fewer jobs were created in July and June than first estimated.