Sept. 6 (UPI) -- The U.S. economy added about 130,000 jobs for the month of August, the Labor Department said Friday in its monthly report.
The number was a bit below the 140,000 most analysts had projected.
The report showed a decline from July, when the U.S. economy added 164,000 new jobs. The unemployment rate, however, remained steady at 3.7 percent for the third month in a row.
Job growth has averaged 150,000 a month so far this year, far below the average monthly gain of 223,000 in 2018.
The rise in federal government employment reflects the hiring of temporary 2020 census workers.
The number of people working part-time jobs for economic reasons increased by 397,000 to 4.4 million in August, the report said. Those worker types had declined in July.
The government report came two days after ADP and Moody's reported 195,000 new jobs in August. It's the second time in the last three months there was a substantial disparity between the two. The Labor Department reported 224,000 new jobs in June after ADP-Moody's reported just 102,000.
Experts say the Moody's report indicates a potential recession is not inevitable.
"Businesses are holding firm on their payrolls despite the slowing economy," Moody's chief economist Mark Zandi said in a statement. "Hiring has moderated, but layoffs remain low. As long as this continues recession will remain at bay."
The job market needs to keep pace to make up for declines in manufacturing and agriculture jobs.
"This highlights why the economy is at risk, because if job growth slows any further that means unemployment will start to rise and that will be the fodder for recession," Zandi told CNBC Wednesday.