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(Bloomberg) — U.S. hiring downshifted abruptly in August with the smallest jobs gain in seven months, complicating a potential decision by the Federal Reserve to begin scaling back monetary support by year end.

Nonfarm payrolls increased 235,000 last month, trailing all forecasts, after an upwardly revised 1.05 million gain in July, a Labor Department report showed Friday. Employment in leisure and hospitality, which has posted strong gains recently, was flat amid the spreading delta variant and persistent hiring challenges.

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