Jobless rates up across racial groups in August

Jobless rates up across racial groups in August

United States job creation slowed in August while the unemployment rate moved a notch higher, according to a key data report released Friday.

The ranks of the unemployed rose by 151,000 to 7.13 million, while the employment level fell 74,000 to 153.4 million. The unemployment rate was essentially unchanged at 4.4 percent; it had been at 4.3 percent.

Still, the report shows job growth spread across most of the economy, with almost two-thirds of industry sectors adding jobs during the month.

The 156,000 jobs falls short of Wall Street's expectations of 180,000, but the unemployment figure suggests that individuals seeking work are able to find it, with the 4.4 percent figure reflecting natural turnover in the jobs market.

July's strong jobs report also revised down slightly, with nonfarm payrolls rising by 189,000 during the month, below the 209,000 that was initially reported by the BLS. Employment growth has averaged 176,000 per month thus far this year, in line with the average monthly gain in 2016 (+187,000).




The leading source of job growth last month was manufacturing, which added 36,000. In August, job gains occurred in computer systems design and related services (+8,000).

Gus Faucher, chief economist at PNC Financial, predicts that job growth in the coming months "will weaken substantially" in the wake of Harvey, only to rebound quickly as workers who were temporarily laid off are rehired. Construction hiring also surged by 28,000, after flat activity in the prior five months. Retail stores and auto dealers added just 800 jobs after having lost 1,900 in July. Average hourly pay increased by 2.5% over the 12 months ending in August.

The US economy grew at an annualised pace of 3 per cent in the second quarter, its fastest pace since the beginning of 2015.

This sluggish wage growth is partly the effect of baby boomers retiring from the work force and being replaced by millennials with entry salaries - balanced out by the fact that those who do have experience are able to command the salary they want. The average workweek dipped 0.1 hour to 34.4 hours. The last time it was at 4.4% was 10 years ago, right before the start of the Great Recession.

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