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US job growth in August slowed from July — to 173,000 from 245,000 — as the unemployment rate fell to the lowest level since 2008, 5.1%. The Wall Street Journal offers a nice summary of the data, and what it might mean for the Federal Reserve’s upcoming interest rate decision. Jobs in the private sector — you know, the part of the economy producing “actual consumer-relevant value,” as economist Tyler Cowen has put it — rose by just 140,000. Economist Robert Brusca is unimpressed, noting that “result lies in lower 17% of its queue of results over the last 59 months when jobs have been expanding. Government jobs however are the second strongest they have been over this period. That gain is what saved the headline from further embarrassment.” […]
Goldman Sachs is out with a note about its political forecasting model, and how the economy might affect the 2016 White House race. According to the Goldman model, the fundamental factors that matter most are real GDP, real consumption, and real personal income. With the 2012 election added to the sample, the change in non-farm payrolls also seems to have acquired more predictive power. And the stock market? Not so much. But timing matters, too.