Erica L. Groshen, Commissioner of the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported this morning that non-farm payroll employment increased by 151,000 in August, and the unemployment rate remained at 4.9%. Employment continued to trend up in several service-providing industries.
Incorporating revisions for June and July, which reduced non-farm payroll employment by 1,000 on net, monthly job gains have averaged 232,000 over the past 3 months. In the 12 months prior to August, employment growth averaged 204,000 per month.
Average hourly earnings of all employees on private nonfarm payrolls were up by 3 cents in August to $25.73. Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings have risen by 2.4%. From July 2015 to July 2016, the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) increased by 0.9% (on a seasonally adjusted basis).
In August, most major labor market measures from the survey of households continued to show little or no change. The unemployment rate was 4.9% for the third consecutive month and has shown little net movement during the past year. There were 7.8 million unemployed persons in August, about the same as a year earlier. In August, 2.0 million unemployed persons had been searching for work for 27 weeks or more; these long-term unemployed accounted for 26.1% of the unemployed, little changed from a year earlier.
Both the labor force participation rate, at 62.8%, and the employment-population ratio, at 59.7%, were unchanged over the month. Among the employed, 6.1 million worked part time for economic reasons in August, little changed from July. (These involuntary part-time workers would prefer to work full time, but had their hours cut or were unable to find full-time jobs.)
Among people who were neither working nor looking for work in August, 1.7 million were marginally attached to the labor force, about the same as a year earlier. Discouraged workers, a subset of the marginally attached who believed that no jobs were available for them, numbered 576,000 in August, also about the same as a year earlier. (Marginally attached to the labor force refers to those who had not looked for work in the 4 weeks prior to the survey but wanted a job, were available for work, and had looked for a job within the last 12 months.)
In summary, non-farm payroll employment increased by 151,000 in August, and the unemployment rate remained at 4.9%. Veteran overall unemployment fell from 4.7% to 4.3%.