- On September 21, 2023
As we enter into the fall season, most job seekers are hopeful for new beginnings and opportunities before the end of the year. Learn more about employment expectations for the new season based on data from our latest employment summary. Staff Solve strives to assist employers and job seekers with information and process hiring, but the overall economic picture of employment trends in the United States and possible factors involved.
Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 187,000 in August, and the unemployment rate rose to 3.8 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Employment continued to trend up in health care, leisure and hospitality, social assistance, and construction. Employment in transportation and warehousing declined.
Both the unemployment rate rose by 0.3 percentage point to 3.8 percent in August, and the number of unemployed persons increased by 514,000 to 6.4 million. Both measures are little different from a year earlier, when the unemployment rate was 3.7 percent and the number of unemployed persons was 6.0 million.
In August, the labor force participation rate rose by 0.2 percentage point to 62.8 percent, after being flat since March. The employment-population ratio was unchanged over the month at 60.4 percent. The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons, at 4.2 million, changed little in August. 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. Employers find hiring workers for part-time positions to be more affordable without paying for employee benefits while still receiving qualified applicants.
In August, the number of persons not in the labor force who currently want a job was 5.4 million, little changed from the prior month. These individuals were not counted as unemployed because they were not actively looking for work during the 4 weeks preceding the survey or were unavailable to take a job.Among those not in the labor force who wanted a job, the number of persons marginally attached to the labor force was little changed at 1.5 million in August. These individuals wanted and were available for work and had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months but had not looked for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey. 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.
Construction employment continued to trend up in August (+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).
Employment in professional and business services changed little in August (+19,000) and has shown essentially no net change since May. Professional, scientific, and technical services employment continued to trend up over the month (+21,000). In contrast, employment in temporary help services continued to trend down (-19,000) and has declined by 242,000 since its peak in March 2022.
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 August, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose by 8 cents, or 0.2 percent, to $33.82. Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings have increased by 4.3 percent. In August, average hourly earnings of private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees rose by 6 cents, or 0.2 percent, to $29.00.
The average workweek for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls edged up by 0.1 hour to 34.4 hours in August. 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 by 0.1 hour to 33.8 hours.
The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for June was revised down by 80,000, from +185,000 to +105,000, and the change for July was revised down by 30,000, from +187,000 to +157,000. With these revisions, employment in June and July combined is 110,000 lower than previously reported. Monthly revisions result from additional reports received from businesses and government agencies since the last published estimates and from the recalculation of seasonal factors.
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