The Washington area is still adding jobs at a brisk pace, but at a slightly lower pace than earlier in the year, according to Labor Department data released last week.

The region added 70,400 jobs in the 12 months ended in August. That is more new jobs than any other metropolitan area in the country over that time span and a healthy level of job creation by most standards. But it suggests a less robust pace of growth than in the spring. In the year ended in May, the region added 82,300 jobs.

The largest generator of new jobs continues to be the professional and business services sector, which added 25,200 positions. That sector includes many contractors serving the federal government, which has been a source of job growth.

But that sector has slowed down, which seems to be a major reason for the overall slowdown in job growth from earlier in the year. In the 12-month period ended in May the sector had added 30,600 jobs.

Growth is not slowing down in every industry. Local retailers added 14,600 jobs in the 12 months ended in August, compared with 13,400 in the 12 months ended in May. That is an early sign that troubles that have affected retailers nationally this summer may not be damaging that sector locally. The building supply business appears to have been particularly strong. Building material and garden equipment dealers added 3,500 jobs in the year ended in August, a 17 percent increase.

-- Neil Irwin