Job gains accelerated last month in construction, business services and governments — three bright spots that helped offset weaker hiring in other sectors.
Construction rebounded during the month, adding 14,000 positions after having lost 2,000 in July. But the greatest gains were seen for professional and business services, which added 37,000 jobs.
This sector includes computer-systems design, consulting, business management and administrative support.
Governments added 34,000 jobs in August, driven largely by the hiring of temporary workers for the 2020 Census. Excluding all government hiring, businesses added just 96,000 jobs, the fewest since May.
Mining lost 5,600 jobs in August and has shed 12,000 jobs since May. Losses also accelerated in retail, driven by general merchandise stores, which include department stores, warehouse clubs and supercenters.
Overall, U.S. employers added a modest 130,000 jobs in August. The unemployment rate held steady at 3.7%, the Labor Department said.