Economy adds 169,000 jobs in August, unemployment little changed at 7.3%

Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 169,000 in August, and the unemployment rate was little changed at 7.3 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Employment rose in retail trade and health care but declined in information.

Household Survey Data

Both the number of unemployed persons, at 11.3 million, and the unemployment rate, at 7.3 percent, changed little in August. The jobless rate is down from 8.1 percent a year ago.

Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult men (7.1 percent), adult women (6.3 percent), teenagers (22.7 percent), whites (6.4 percent), blacks (13.0 percent), and Hispanics (9.3 percent) showed little change in August. The jobless rate for Asians was 5.1 percent (not seasonally adjusted), little changed from a year earlier.

In August, the number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) was about unchanged at 4.3 million. These individuals accounted for 37.9 percent of the unemployed. Over the past 12 months, the number of long-term unemployed has declined by 733,000.

The civilian labor force participation rate edged down to 63.2 percent in August. The employment-population ratio, at 58.6 percent, was essentially unchanged.

The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons (sometimes referred to as involuntary part-time workers) declined by 334,000 to 7.9 million in August. These individuals were working part time because their hours had been cut back or because they were unable to find a full-time job.

In August, 2.3 million persons were marginally attached to the labor force, down by 219,000 from a year earlier. (The data are not seasonally adjusted.) These individuals were not in the labor force, wanted and were available for work, and had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months. They were not counted as unemployed because they had not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey.

Among the marginally attached, there were 866,000 discouraged workers in August, essentially unchanged from a year earlier. (The data are not seasonally adjusted.) Discouraged workers are persons not currently looking for work because they believe no jobs are available for them. The remaining 1.5 million persons marginally attached to the labor force in August had not searched for work for reasons such as school attendance or family responsibilities.

Establishment Survey Data

Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 169,000 in August, about in line with the average monthly gain of 184,000 over the prior 12 months. In August, job growth occurred in retail trade and health care, while employment in information declined. Employment continued to trend up in food services and drinking places, professional and business services, and wholesale trade.

Retail trade added 44,000 jobs in August and has added 393,000 jobs over the past 12 months. In August, job growth occurred in clothing stores (+14,000), food and beverage stores (+12,000), general merchandise stores (+9,000), and electronics and appliance stores (+4,000).

Employment in health care increased by 33,000 in August. Within the industry, most of the job growth occurred in ambulatory care services (+27,000).

In August, employment in professional and business services continued to trend up (+23,000). Over the past 12 months, this industry has added 614,000 jobs. Employment in temporary help services changed little in August.

Within leisure and hospitality, employment in food services and drinking places continued to trend up in August (+21,000). Over the year, food services and drinking places has added 354,000 jobs.

In August, wholesale trade employment continued to trend up (+8,000). This industry has added 83,000 jobs over the past 12 months.

Within manufacturing, employment in motor vehicles and parts rose by 19,000 in August, after declining by 10,000 in July. Auto manufacturers laid off more workers for model changeover in July than in recent years. The return of laid-off workers contributed to the increase in August. Over the past 12 months, auto manufacturers have added 34,000 jobs.

Within information, the motion picture and sound recording industry lost 22,000 jobs in August, following a gain of 8,000 in July.

Employment in other major industries, including mining and logging, construction, transportation and warehousing, financial activities, and government, showed little or no change in August.

The average workweek for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls increased by 0.1 hour in August to 34.5 hours. In manufacturing, the workweek increased by 0.1 hour to 40.8 hours, and overtime increased by 0.2 hour to 3.4 hours. The average workweek for production and nonsupervisory employees on private nonfarm payrolls was unchanged at 33.6 hours.

In August, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose by 5 cents to $24.05. Over the year, average hourly earnings have risen by 52 cents, or 2.2 percent. In August, average hourly earnings of private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees rose by 4 cents to $20.20.

The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for June was revised from +188,000 to +172,000, and the change for July was revised from +162,000 to +104,000. With these revisions, employment gains in June and July combined were 74,000 less than previously reported.

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