Washington – The U.S. economy created no net new jobs in August and official unemployment remained at 9.1 percent, the Labor Department said Friday.
Most analysts had expected 93,000 new positions last month, but job losses in the public sector outweighed new hires by private employers.
The August report is the first since February 1945 to show no net change in employment.
Besides the disappointing numbers for August, the Labor Department also reduced its estimates for June and July by a total of 58,000, meaning that only 105,000 new jobs were created in the two-month period.
Economists say the U.S. needs to create around 150,000 new positions every month just to keep pace with population growth, while it will take a substantially higher rate of employment expansion to recoup the 8.4 million jobs destroyed in the recession.
The ranks of people who have been out of work for more than six months held steady in August at 6 million, representing 42.9 percent of the jobless.
The workforce participation rate - the proportion of the population working or seeking work - climbed slightly last month to 64 percent after reaching a 27-year low in July.
Job creation has slowed "notably" since April, Labor Department statistician Keith Hall said Friday.
The broader U6 unemployment rate, which includes part-time workers who would prefer full-time jobs and people who have given up looking, remained unchanged in August at 16.1 percent.