New York--The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday that total non-farm payroll employment increased by 151,000 in August, following gains in both June and July.

Employment continued to increase in several service-providing industries, including food services and drinking places, which added 34,000 jobs during the month.

Retail employment changed little in August.

Average hourly earnings for all employees on private, non-farm payrolls rose by 3 cents to $25.73, the bureau said. For the year, average hourly earnings are up 2 percent.

The unemployment rate remained at 4.9 percent for the third month in a row. The bureau noted that it has remained virtually unchanged this year.

The addition of 151,000 jobs in August follows gains of 271,000 in June (revised downward from 292,000) and 275,000 in July (revised upward from 255,000) but is down from the three-month average of 232,000.

Commenting on the report, U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez said that the U.S. economy is continuing a “steady recovery,” noting that the private sector has added 15.1 million jobs since February 2010, the longest streak of overall job growth on record.

“So many American families are better off … than they were seven years ago. Consumer confidence remains high (and) initial unemployment claims remained near historic lows in August,” he said, though he noted that the government still has more work to do bolster the American middle class.

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