Unemployment rate unexpectedly jumps

Cookeville – Employers added 187,000 jobs in August according to the August Jobs report.

The unemployment rate rose to 3.8% reported the U.S. Burea of Labor Statistics. Employment, on the other hand, creeped up in health care, leisure and hospitality, social assistance and construction while employment in transportation and warehousing declined. The report also shows that the number of unemployed people rose by 514,000 to 6.4 million.

Both numbers are little changed from a year ago.

Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult men (3.7%), whites (3.4%), and Asians (3.1 %) rose in Aug. The jobless rates for adult women (3.2 %), teenagers (12.2 %), Blacks (5.3 %), and Hispanics (4.9 %) showed little change over the month.

Among the unemployed, the number of job losers and persons who completed temporary jobs increased by 294,000 to 2.9 million, offsetting a decrease of 280,000 in July. Both the number of unemployed less than five weeks, at 2.2 million and the number of long- term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more), at 1.3 million, edged up in Aug.

The long-term unemployed accounted for 20.3% of all unemployed.

In Aug., the labor force participation rate rose by 0.2 percentage point to 62.8%.

The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons (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) at 4.2 million, changed little in Aug. The number of people not in the labor force who currently want a job was 5.4 million. These individuals were not counted as unemployed because they were not actively looking for work during the four weeks preceding the survey or were unavailable to take a job.

The number of discouraged workers, a subset of the marginally attached who believed that no jobs were available for them, also changed little over the month at 386,000. In Aug., employment continued to trend up in health care, leisure and hospitality, social assistance, and construction. Employment in transportation and warehousing declined.

Health care added 71,000 jobs, following a gain of similar magnitude in the prior month. Over the month, job growth continued in ambulatory health care services (+40,000), nursing and residential care facilities (+17,000), and hospitals (+15,000).

Employment in leisure and hospitality continued to trend up in Aug. (+40,000). The industry gained an average of 61,000 jobs per month over the prior 12 months. Construction employment continued to trend up in Aug. (+22,000), in line with the average monthly gain over the prior 12 months (+17,000). Within the industry, employment continued to trend up over the month in specialty trade contractors (+11,000) and in heavy and civil engineering construction (+7,000).

Transportation and warehousing lost 34,000 jobs in Aug.

Employment in truck transportation also fell sharply (-37,000), largely reflecting a business closure. Couriers and messengers lost 9,000 jobs. Employment in professional and business services changed little in Aug. (+19,000) and has shown essentially no net change since May. Employment showed little change over the month in other major industries, including mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction; manufacturing; wholesale trade; retail trade; financial activities; other services and government.

In Aug., average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose by eight cents, or 0.2%, to $33.82. Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings have increased by 4.3%. In August, average hourly earnings of private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees rose by six cents or 0.2%, to $29.00.

The average workweek for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls edged up by 0.1 hour to 34.4 hours in Aug. In manufacturing, the average workweek was 40.1 hours for the fifth month in a row, and overtime edged down by 0.1 hour to 3.0 hours. The average workweek for production and nonsupervisory employees on private nonfarm payrolls edged up to 33.8 hours.

UCBJ file photo.

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