But the private sector created 67,000 jobs – more than analysts had been expecting – according to the Labour Department.
That meant that overrall the unemployment rate rose to 9.6 per cent, from 9.5 per cent in July which was a smaller rise than forecast.
Government employment fell by 121,000, largely due to the loss of 114,000 temporary employees who had been taken on to compile the US census but finished their work in August.
Chris Redfern from currency experts Moneycorp said: “After the stream of negative data throughout the summer, it was refreshing to see positive results from the US. However, while today’s jobs data was far better than expected, with job losses at 54,000 rather than at the previously forecast figure of 100,000, the US is not yet out of the woods."