US Economy Added 156000 Jobs, Unemployment Remains Near 16-Year Low

Luke Sharrett  Bloomberg

The hurricane's impact is likely to show up in a few weeks in initial filings for unemployment claims. Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult men (4.1%), adult women (4.0%), teenagers (13.6%), Whites (3.9%) showed little or no change in August. (The data are not seasonally adjusted.) Discouraged workers are persons not now looking for work because they believe no jobs are available for them.

Discouraged workers-persons marginally attached to the labor force not now looking for work because they believe no jobs are available for them-are down 128,000 from a year earlier to 448,000.

Revisions to the previous two months subtracted a total of 41,000 jobs. The government cut its estimate of new jobs created in July to 189,000 from 209,000.

Overall, hiring this year has averaged 176,000 a month, roughly in line with 2016's average of 187,000. August's gains were far more than the 75,000 to 100,000 jobs per month needed to keep up with growth in the working-age population.

African Americans are within striking distance of 7 percent unemployment, an all-time low for this group since record-keeping began in 1972, set in April 2000. Professional and business services saw the biggest gains in August, with payrolls in this sector rising by 40,000.

Underscoring labor market strength, manufacturing payrolls surged by 36,000 jobs.

When businesses struggle to find enough workers to hire, many will ask their employees to work longer.

The US economy grew at an annualised pace of 3 per cent in the second quarter, its fastest pace since the beginning of 2015. Average hourly earnings rose 0.1% month-on-month, softer than expected, and 2.5% year-on-year, both weaker than expected.

After beginning to rise, wages returned to stubborn and nearly stagnant growth in August. And that may be exactly what is happening: The average workweek was 34.5 hours in July, a slight increase from 34.4 a year ago.

Job growth in the United States came in well below economist estimates in the month of August, according to a closely watched report released by the Labor Department on Friday.

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