Nonfarm payroll employment decreased by 54,000 job in August, and the unemployment rate increased to 9.6%, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Government employment fell, as 114,000 temporary workers hired for the census completed their work. Private-sector payroll employment continued to trend up modestly (+67,000).
The estimates were for worse news so that loss of 54,000 jobs was seen as good news. That is still pretty bad news. There was some slightly good news though in that 123,000 fewer jobs were lost in the June and July than previously thought. So the total jobs report shows a gain of 69,000 from the previously reported data. The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for June was revised from -221,000 to -175,000, and the change for July was revised from -131,000 to -54,000.
The number of unemployed persons now stands at 14.9 million. Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rate for adult men (9.8%), adult women (8.0%), teenagers (26.3%). The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks and over) declined by 323,000 over the month to 6.2 million. In August, 42% of unemployed persons had been jobless for 27 weeks or more.
In August, the civilian labor force participation rate stood at 64.7% and the employment-population ratio was 58.5%. Since its most recent low in December 2009, private-sector employment has risen by 763,000.
Employment in health care increased by 28,000 in August. Thus far in 2010, the health care industry has added an average of 20,000 jobs per month, about in line with the average monthly job growth in 2009. Manufacturing employment declined by 27,000 over the month. A decline in motor vehicles and parts (-22,000) offset a gain of similar magnitude in July as the industry departed somewhat from its usual layoff and recall pattern for annual retooling.
The average workweek for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls was unchanged over the month at 34.2 hours. The manufacturing workweek for all employees increased by 0.1 hour to 40.2 hours, and factory overtime was up by 0.1 hour. The average workweek for production and nonsupervisory employees on private nonfarm payrolls increased by 0.1 hour to 33.5 hours.
Average hourly earnings of all employees on private nonfarm payrolls increased by 6 cents, or 0.3 percent, to $22.66 in August. Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings have increased by 1.7 percent. In August, average hourly earnings of private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees increased by 3 cents, or 0.2 percent, to $19.08.
The data points to a stagnant economy. The free fall created by the credit crisis has been stopped thankfully and there is hope for better news going forward but nothing definite. Job growth is a key right now and growth of over 200,000 jobs a month is needed to really provide hope for a stronger economy, which would start to reduce the risks of sliding back into another recession (and to allow improvement on reducing the amount of the government deficit).