U.S. employers added 96,000 jobs last month, a weak figure that could slow any momentum President Barack Obama hoped to gain from his speech to the Democratic National Convention but which could push ahead his administration’s stimulus efforts.

The unemployment rate fell to 8.1 percent from 8.3 percent in July, the Labor Department said Friday. But that was only because more people gave up looking for work. The government only counts people as unemployed if they are actively searching.

The government also said 41,000 fewer jobs were created in July and June than first estimated. The economy has added just 139,000 jobs a month since the beginning of the year, below 2011’s average of 153,000.

Dow Jones industrial futures, which had been up before the report, fell soon after it was released.

Some categories defied the downturn, as reflected by Chicago’s continued uptick in hiring at data centers, call centers, freight-moving logistics companies and technology startups with solutions ranging from healthcare to bargain-hunting to custom-design production.

The biggest national employment increases month-over-month came in bars and restaurants, up 28,000; health care, up 17,000; computer systems design, up 11,000; finance and insurance, up 11,000; utilities, up 9,000; management and technical consulting services, up 9,000; and engineering and architectural services, up 4,000.