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By Zandi Shabalala JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - A plan by the South African government and mining companies to stem the wave of job losses sparked by falling metal prices and rising costs is seen as likely to do little to stem layoffs as it does not include a total freeze on job losses. The 10-point jobs pact urges firms to extend consultations with workers before laying them off and set up a fund to assist laid-off miners but does not expressly prohibit firms from firing workers, and is widely seen as politically motivated. The embattled mining industry, which contributes 7 percent to the gross domestic product of Africa's most advanced economy, has cut about 10 percent of jobs over the last 10 years, according to data from the Chamber of Mines.
U.S. job growth slowed in August, but the unemployment rate dropped to a near 7-1/2-year low and wages accelerated, keeping alive prospects of a Federal Reserve interest rate hike later this month. Nonfarm payrolls increased 173,000 last month after an upwardly revised gain of 245,000 in July, the Labor Department said on Friday. August's gain was the smallest in five months as the factory sector lost the most jobs since July 2013.