Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 130,000 in August, and the unemployment rate was unchanged at 3.7 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday. Employment in federal government rose, largely reflecting the hiring of temporary workers for the 2020 Census. Notable job gains also occurred in health care and financial activities, while mining lost jobs.
This news release presents statistics from two monthly surveys. The household survey measures labor force status, including unemployment, by demographic characteristics. The establishment survey measures nonfarm employment, hours, and earnings by industry.
Household Survey Data
In August, the unemployment rate was 3.7 percent for the third month in a row, and the number of unemployed persons was essentially unchanged at 6.0 million.
Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult men (3.4 percent), adult women (3.3 percent), teenagers (12.6 percent), Whites (3.4 percent), Blacks (5.5 percent), Asians (2.8 percent), and Hispanics (4.2 percent) showed little or no change in August.
The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) was little changed at 1.2 million in August and accounted for 20.6 percent of the unemployed.
The labor force participation rate edged up to 63.2 percent in August but has shown little change, on net, thus far this year. The employment-population ratio, at 60.9 percent, also edged up over the month and is up by 0.6 percentage point over the year.
The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons (sometimes referred to as involuntary part-time workers) increased by 397,000 to 4.4 million in August; this increase follows a decline of similar magnitude in July. 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.
In August, 1.6 million persons were marginally attached to the labor force, little different from a year earlier. (Data are not seasonally adjusted.) These individuals were not in the labor force, wanted and were available for work, and had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months. They were not counted as unemployed because they had not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey.
Among the marginally attached, there were 467,000 discouraged workers in August, about unchanged from a year earlier. (Data are not seasonally adjusted.) Discouraged workers are persons not currently looking for work because they believe no jobs are available for them. The remaining 1.1 million persons marginally attached to the labor force in August had not searched for work for reasons such as school attendance or family responsibilities.
Establishment Survey Data
Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 130,000 in August. Job growth has averaged 158,000 per month thus far this year, below the average monthly gain of 223,000 in 2018. In August, employment in federal government rose, largely reflecting the hiring of temporary workers for the 2020 Census. Private-sector employment was up by 96,000, with notable job gains in health care and financial activities and a job loss in mining.
In August, employment in federal government increased by 28,000. The gain was mostly due to the hiring of 25,000 temporary workers to prepare for the 2020 Census.
Health care added 24,000 jobs over the month and 392,000 over the past 12 months. In August, employment continued to trend up in ambulatory health care services (+12,000) and in hospitals (+9,000).
In August, financial activities employment rose by 15,000, with nearly half of the gain occurring in insurance carriers and related activities (+7,000). Financial activities has added 111,000 jobs over the year.
Employment in professional and business services continued to trend up in August (+37,000). Within the industry, employment increased by 10,000 both in computer systems design and related services and in management of companies and enterprises. Monthly job gains in professional and business services have averaged 34,000 thus far in 2019, below the average monthly gain of 47,000 in 2018.
Social assistance employment continued on an upward trend in August (+13,000). Within the industry, individual and family services added 17,000 jobs. Social assistance has added 100,000 jobs in the last 6 months.
Mining employment declined by 6,000 in August, with nearly all of the loss in support activities for mining (-5,000).
Retail trade employment changed little in August (-11,000). General merchandise stores lost 15,000 jobs over the month and 80,000 jobs over the year. Building material and garden supply stores added 9,000 jobs over the month.
Employment showed little change over the month in construction, manufacturing, transportation and warehousing, and leisure and hospitality. Job growth in these industries has moderated thus far in 2019 compared with 2018.
In August, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose by 11 cents to $28.11, following 9-cent gains in both June and July. Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings have increased by 3.2 percent. In August, average hourly earnings of private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees rose by 11 cents to $23.59.
The average workweek for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls increased by 0.1 hour to 34.4 hours in August. In manufacturing, the average workweek increased by 0.2 hour to 40.6 hours, and overtime declined by 0.1 hour to 3.2 hours. The average workweek of private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees increased by 0.1 hour to 33.6 hours.
The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for June was revised down by 15,000 from +193,000 to +178,000, and the change for July was revised down by 5,000 from +164,000 to +159,000. With these revisions, employment gains in June and July combined were 20,000 less 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.) After revisions, job gains have averaged 156,000 per month over the last 3 months.