Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 96,000 in August, and the unemployment
rate edged down to 8.1 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Employment increased in food services and drinking places, in professional and technical services, and in health care.
Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult men (7.6 percent), adult women (7.3 percent), teenagers (24.6 percent), whites (7.2 percent), blacks (14.1 percent), and Hispanics (10.2 percent) showed little or no change in August. The jobless rate for Asians was 5.9 percent (not seasonally adjusted), little changed from a year earlier.
By sectors, employment in food services and drinking places increased by 28,000 in August and by 298,000 over the past 12 months.
Employment in professional and technical services rose in August (+27,000). Job gains occurred in computer systems design and related services (+11,000) and management and technical consulting services (+9,000).
Health care employment rose by 17,000 in August. Ambulatory health care services and hospitals added 14,000 and 6,000 jobs, respectively. From June through August, job growth in health care averaged 15,000 per month, compared with an average monthly gain of 28,000 in the prior 12 months.
Utilities employment increased in August (+9,000). The increase reflects the return of utility workers who were off payrolls in July due to a labor-management dispute.
Within financial activities, finance and insurance added 11,000 jobs in August. Employment in wholesale trade continued to trend up. Employment in temporary help services changed little over the month and has shown little movement, on net, since February.
Manufacturing employment edged down in August (-15,000). A decline in motor vehicles and parts (-8,000) partially offset a gain in July. Auto manufacturers laid off fewer workers for factory retooling than usual in July, and fewer workers than usual were recalled in August.
Employment in other major industries, including mining and logging, construction, retail trade, transportation and warehousing, information, and government, showed little change over the month.
In August, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls edged down by 1 cent to $23.52. Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings rose by 1.7 percent. In August, average hourly earnings of private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees edged down by 1 cent to $19.75.
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