The August unemployment rate was released today and while the actual rate fell slightly to 6.1% there are many thinking there is something amiss. The rate reduction was in line yet there were just 142,000 nonfarm, private payroll jobs created. This was the first time a new job number fell below 200,000unemployment rate falls over the previous seven month period.

Prior to the August count, more than 200,000 new jobs were created in each of the previous six months. While this sort of job creation is a positive it is still well below what is needed to really get the economy back on track.

The Fed can only do so much with regard to interest rates and indeed rates have been held near zero due to Fed Funds rate cuts and economic stimulus by way of quantitative easing. What’s needed is an extended burst of consumer spending and the Fed can’t do very much about that, especially when so few are in the work force producing and buying.

The Labor Participation Rate fell to 62.8%, the second time this year the rate has been so low. Prior to 2014, the last time so many people fell out of the work force was in 1978 when Jimmy Carter was president. That’s not a very good sign and if indeed consumers are the drivers of the economy then they probably need to have jobs in order to purchase goods and services. With so comparative few leaving the workforce altogether and giving up the job search entirely, that means consumer spending is on the backs of fewer individuals.

It’s very possible these numbers are skewed and many are saying just that as August apparently is notorious for providing shaky numbers only to be revised later. We’ll find out soon enough if that’s true but one more round of sub-200,000 monthly job creation you can expect the chatter about the Fed raising rates sooner than expected to subside.