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Wednesday, April 17, 2024
HomeNewsEconomyU.S. Economy Added 156,000 Jobs, Unemployment Remains Near 16-Year Low

U.S. Economy Added 156,000 Jobs, Unemployment Remains Near 16-Year Low

People browse booths at a military veterans' job fair in Carson, California October 3, 2014. (Photo: Reuters)
People browse booths at a military veterans' job fair in Carson, California October 3, 2014. (Photo: Reuters)

People browse booths at a military veterans’ job fair in Carson, California October 3, 2014. (Photo: Reuters)

The Labor Department said Thursday the U.S. economy created 156,000 jobs in August and unemployment remained at 4.4%, matching a near 16-year low set in June. While the headline number missed the 180,000 forecast, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) report showed solid gains in higher-paying industries.

The labor force participation rate continued to tick higher in July to 62.9% and held firm in August. The less-cited but equally important employment–to-population ratio was largely unchanged at 60.1%.

August was a big month for manufacturing, construction, professional and technical services, health care and mining.

Manufacturing added a solid 36,000 jobs in August, with gains happening in motor vehicles and parts (+14,000), fabricated metal products (+5,000), and computer and electronic products (+4,000). Manufacturing has added 155,000 jobs since President Trump was elected in November 2016, which was a low point for the sector. BLS also upwardly revised manufacturing jobs created in July by 10,000, making it a total 26,000 increase for that month.

In August, construction employment rose by 28,000, after showing little change over the prior 5 months. Employment among residential specialty trade contractors edged up by 12,000 over the month.

Mining continued to add jobs in August (+7,000), with all of the growth in support activities for mining. Since a recent low in October 2016, employment in mining has risen by 62,000, or 10%.

Employment in professional and technical services continued to trend up in August (+22,000) and added 262,000 jobs over the last 12 months. In August, job gains occurred in computer systems design and related services (+8,000).

After beginning to rise, wages returned to stubborn and almost stagnant growth in August. Average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose by just 3 cents to $26.39, following a gain of 9 cents in July. Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings have increased by 65 cents, or 2.5%. In August, average hourly earnings of private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees increased by 4 cents to $22.12.

Discouraged workers–persons marginally attached to the labor force not currently looking for work because they believe no jobs are available for them–are down 128,000 from a year earlier to 448,000.

Written by

PPD Business, the economy-reporting arm of People's Pundit Daily, is "making sense of current events." We are a no-holds barred, news reporting pundit of, by, and for the people.

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