The national unemployment rate fell from 8.3% to 8.1%, according to data released this morning by the Labor Department.
Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 96,000 in August, less than the 127,000 or so expected by analysts.
Employment increased in food services and drinking places, in professional and technical services, and in health care.
Employment in other major industries, including mining and logging, construction, retail trade, transportation and warehousing, information, and government, showed little change over the month.
A year ago, the national unemployment rate stood at 9.1%.