The newest figures from the Labor Department show that non-farm employers added 142,000 jobs last month, well below consensus estimates of 225,000 to 230,000. The unemployment rate ticked downward slightly from 6.2 to 6.1 percent.
The Labor Department also found there were 28,000 fewer new jobs in June and July than previously estimated. It revised June's count from 298,000 to 267,000 and July's count up slightly, from 209,000 to 212,000.
The labor force participation rate also fell slightly, from 62.9 to 62.8 percent. That is the share of working-age Americans who are actively looking for work or who have it, and it has been watched closely during the recovery because it has been stuck at low levels — pre-recession, it was in the 66 percent range. A shrinking labor force participation rate could be a sign that the unemployment rate is too low, as people who are unemployed and actively looking for work may have given up the search and therefore are not counted as "unemployed" in the Labor Department numbers. However, it may also simply be a sign that the labor force is shrinking as Boomers age out of it.
The monthly jobs report is a big deal, of course, being both media event and also a market-mover, so news will abound today that this is a mediocre report. That's true, but it's also important to remember that this month's payrolls figure will also be revised twice in coming months and that it has a confidence interval of 90,000 jobs either way.