MUNCIE - The most recent U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics report showed U.S. unemployment remains near a 50-year low of 3.7 percent, but job growth in August remained tepid. The government says 130,000 new jobs were created last month. Ball State University economist Michael Hicks believes the economy is expanding, but at a much slower pace.

“The economy is clearly decelerating,” said Hicks. "The 130,000 new jobs created in August were well below the average of the previous two quarters, even after revisions that cut a further 20,000 jobs from the June and July report."

Hicks says a significant share of job growth involved temporary jobs for the 2020 Census.

"More worrisome is the large increase in the sector representing temporary jobs," Hicks said. "More than one in three private sector jobs created last month were in managerial and professional services.” Hicks believes employers may feel uneasy about the future of the domestic economy, resulting in a slowdown in permanent hires.

Hicks says these numbers are preliminary and should be viewed with caution. He says revisions to previous months’ reports have been revised heavily downward.