Solid economic data lift hopes for Aug. job report

WASHINGTON (AP) — Analysts say they expect today's employment data from the Labor Department to continue the recent, positive trend.

Economists surveyed by FactSet predict that the government's report will show that employers added 220,000 jobs in August. The unemployment rate is expected to fall to 6.1 percent from 6.2 percent in July.

The Labor Department will issue the jobs report at 8:30 a.m. Eastern time.

Employers have added an average of 230,000 jobs a month this year, up from an average of 194,000 in 2013. The increased hiring has boosted consumers' confidence and should support healthy second half growth.

Most economists doubt that another strong jobs report would, by itself, alter Fed Chair Janet Yellen's timetable for raising short-term interest rates. Economists generally expect that to start by roughly mid-2015. The short-term rate has been at nearly zero for almost six years.

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