BLS August Jobs Report: Anemic Recovery Marches On

THE BLS August jobs report released this morning showed a largely unchanged economy.

According to the household survey, the unemployment rate remained unchanged at 6.1%, as did the number of unemployed people at 9.6 million, and the number of employed persons at 146 million.  From a year ago, the unemployment rate is down 1.2 percentage points, while the number of unemployed persons declined by 2 million and the number of employed persons increased by 2 million.

The labor force participation rate remained unchanged at 62.8%–where it has been since April–, but down 0.4 percentage points from a year ago.  The employment-population rate of 59% also remained unchanged from last month, is down just 0.1 percentage points from last August.

Long-term unemployment declined slightly by 192,000 to roughly 3 million people out of work for 27 weeks or more.  Involuntary part-time work came down slightly from 7.5 million to 7.2 million from last month, and down 600,000 from a year ago.  Long trends show that involuntary part-time work is trending down, but still well above pre-recession levels.

The establishment survey showed the economy added 142,000 jobs, with professional and business services accounting for the largest piece of that increase at 47,000.  Manufacturing and construction both were unchanged from last month, and up slightly from a year ago.

While hiring was below expectations, the stability of average weekly hours mutes any concern from that hiring slowdown.  The average work week for all private employees as well as production and non-supervisory workers remained unchanged for the 6th consecutive month at  34.5 and 33.7 respectively.

Lastly, wages ticked up, with production and non-supervisory hourly wages up 2.5% from a year ago, barely out-pacing inflation, with all private employee wages gaining 2.1%.

In short, the anemic recovery marches on.

John Haskell

About John Haskell

John graduated from the University of Southern Maine with a degree in Political Science, and from the University of Maine School of Law. He has worked in both the public and private sectors, and currently, works with a small business services company in the Mid-Coast area.