U.S. job growth likely accelerated a bit in August and the unemployment rate probably fell to 6.1 percent, offering fresh evidence of sustained momentum in the economy. Economists predict that nonfarm payrolls increased 225,000 last month, according to a Reuters survey. It would mark the seventh straight month that employment has expanded above 200,000 jobs – a stretch last witnessed in 1997.
The government reported last month that the economy added 209,000 jobs in July. Economists, however, expect June and July data will be revised to show more jobs created than previously reported, in line with a recent trend of upward revisions. “It would be further confirmation that the economy is strengthening and is poised to break out later this year or early next,” said Ryan Sweet, a senior economist at Moody’s Analytics in West Chester, Pennsylvania.
The Labor Department will release its monthly employment report at 8:30 a.m. on Friday. The report regularly sets the tone for financial markets worldwide. Should employment meet expectations, it will add to data such as automobile sales and manufacturing and services sector gauges in casting the economy in a bullish light.