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Job Gains Slowed in August

The economy produced 130,000 in August, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports. This was…

  • September 24, 2019

The economy produced 130,000 in August, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports. This was a steep decline from earlier this year, and well below the 200,000 new jobs a month economists like to see in a growing economy. However, wage growth accelerated during the month, and the percentage of Americans participating in the workforce edged higher.

Employment in federal government rose, largely reflecting the hiring of temporary workers for the 2020 Census. Notable job gains also occurred in health care and financial activities, while mining lost jobs.

Unemployment Rate Stable, Workforce Expands

In August, the unemployment rate was 3.7 percent for the third month in a row, and the number of unemployed persons was essentially unchanged at 6.0 million.

Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult men (3.4 percent), adult women (3.3 percent), teenagers (12.6 percent), Whites (3.4 percent), Blacks (5.5 percent), Asians (2.8 percent), and Hispanics (4.2 percent) showed little or no change in August.

The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) was little changed at 1.2 million in August and accounted for 20.6 percent of the unemployed.

The labor force participation rate edged up to 63.2 percent in August but has shown little change, on net, thus far this year. The employment-population ratio, at 60.9 percent, also edged up over the month and is up by 0.6 percentage point over the year.

The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons (sometimes referred to as involuntary part-time workers) increased by 397,000 to 4.4 million in August; this increase follows a decline of similar magnitude in July.

These individuals, who would have preferred full-time employment, were working part time because their hours had been reduced or they were unable to find full-time jobs.

Wage Gains Accelerate

In August, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose by 11 cents to $28.11, following 9-cent gains in both June and July.

Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings have increased by 3.2 percent. In August, average hourly earnings of private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees rose by 11 cents to $23.59.

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