WASHINGTON - A hiring revival pulled the nation’s unemployment rate down to 4.7 percent in August and flashed a Labor Day weekend message that the slowing economy isn’t in danger of fizzling out.
The latest snapshot, released by the Labor Department on Friday, was a bit brighter than expected and eased some fears that the economy — weighed down by a housing slump — might tip into recession.
‘‘This provides some peace of mind,’’ said Oscar Gonzalez, economist at John Hancock Financial Services.
Employers boosted payrolls by 128,000 in August, an improvement over the 121,000 jobs created in July. Schools, hospitals, financial firms, computer-design shops and construction companies were among those posting employment gains last month. That helped to blunt job cuts in manufacturing, retailing, trucking and elsewhere.
On Wall Street, the employment news lifted stocks. The Dow Jones industrials gained 83 points to close at 11,464.15.
With hiring improving, the unemployment rate dropped down a notch from a five-month high of 4.8 percent in July.
That decline put the current unemployment rate close to a five-year low of 4.6 percent reached in May and maintained in June.
The jobless rates for blacks in August dipped to 8.8 percent, the lowest since July 2001. The unemployment rate for Hispanics held steady at 5.3 percent.