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Unemployment falls to 7.3%, 169,000 jobs added

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the economy added 169,000 jobs last month, falling below analyst expectations. The unemployment rate ticked down to 7.3 percent.

The numbers indicate that although our economy is improving, it's a slow recovery. And more people are giving up the job search--the labor force participation rate fell to 63.2 percent, the lowest it's been in 35 years. 

"We just aren't getting that rebound that we keep hoping for," says Julia Coronado, chief economist with investment bank BNP Paribas. 

In addition to August's hiring number being weaker than expected, there were downward revisions to July's report. 

"We had job growth that was just a little bit weaker than expected," says Chris Low, chief economist at FTN Financial, "but June and July were revised way down--by 74,000. July job growth was only 104,000. That's about half of what we'd like to see."

Joseph Mattila, an underemployed worker in Minnesota, talked to Marketplace Morning Report host David Brancaccio about his experience in the job market. He used to work for a phone company, but got his paralegal certification after he got laid off three years ago. But despite going back to school, he still had trouble finding a job. 

"Who wouldnt want a 20-something lawyer instead of a 58-year-old paralegal?" said Mattila. 

He spent almost a year and a half looking for a paralegal job. Now he works as a medical courier, but since the job only pays $10.35 an hour, he says it's a struggle to make ends meet. 

Mattila says there's just not too many manufacturing jobs where he lives. Julia Coronado says that manufacturing used to be a bright spot in our economy,  but now employers are being very cautious about adding new workers. 

Click the audio player above to hear more from the interviews and click here to listen to David discuss the report with Jason Furman, President Obama's chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers.

About the author

David Brancaccio is the host of Marketplace Morning Report. Follow David on Twitter @DavidBrancaccio
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