Health and Wellness

Gov't: 201,000 new jobs gained in August. Wages make big increase, but only equal to inflation

According to government surveys, the economy generated 204,000 seasonally adjusted new private-sector jobs in August. Previously reported numbers for June and July were revised downward. The public sector shed 3,000 jobs in August, for an overall net gain of 201,000 jobs. The Bureau of Labor Statistics also reported Friday that the headline unemployment rate remained unchanged at 3.9 percent. The August results were close to what economists had expected. Another measure designed to gauge both unemployment and underemployment fell 0.1 point to 7.4 percent, the lowest it has been since February 2001. 

August marked the 95th consecutive month of overall job growth.

Average wages since last month rose 0.4 percent, the most they have since April 2009. On a year-over-year basis, they have risen 77 cents since August 2017, or 2.8 percent. Since inflation is running at an annual 2.95 percent (in July), workers are still just treading water.

If they had more bargaining power, they’d be capturing a bigger slice of those record-breaking profits we’re seeing, as Jared Bernstein argues in Productivity and wages: What’s the connection? Bernstein and Larry Mischel of the Economic Policy Institute also analyzed “adjustments” by the Trump regime’s Council of Economic Advisers claiming that wages are growing faster than has been reported. Most of those adjustments are bogus, the two say.

The BLS revisions for June and July were based on data that weren’t available when reports for those months were first released. July’s tally was revised from 157,000 new jobs to 147,000; June’s was revised from 248,000 to 208,000.

Job gains or losses are calculated via the Current Employment Survey of 147,000 business establishments. The unemployment rate is based on a separate report, the Current Population Survey of 60,000 households.

The civilian workforce fell by 469,000 after rising 105,000 in July and 601,000 in June. The labor force participation rate fell 0.2 to 62.7 percent in August. The employment-population ratio also fell 0.2 to 60.3 percent.

Here are some more details from the August jobs report:

Unemployment rates differ by race and sex. [Percentages in brackets are for July]. Adult men: 3.5 percent [3.4]; Adult women: 3.6 percent [3.7]; Whites: 3.4 percent [3.4] ; Blacks: 6.3 percent [6.6]; Asians: 3.0 percent [3.1]; Hispanics: 4.7  percent [4.5]; American Indians: (not counted monthly).

Hours & Wages:

• Average hourly earnings of private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees rose in August by 7 cents an hour to $22.73.

• Average hourly earnings for all employees on private non-farm payrolls in August rose 10 cents an hour to $27.16.
• Average work week for all employees on non-farm payroll remained unchanged at 34.5 hours in August.

• The manufacturing work week in August remained unchanged at 41.0 hours.

August Job Gains and Losses for selected categories:

Professional services: 53,000
Temporary help services: 10,000
Transportation & warehousing: 20,200
Financial activities: 11,000
Leisure & hospitality: 17,000
Information: -6,000
Education and health services: 53,000
Health care & social assistance: 40,700
Retail trade: -5,900
Construction: 23,000
Manufacturing: -3,000
Mining and Logging: 6,000

Here’s what the seasonally adjusted job growth numbers have looked like in the previous decade compared with this August’s gain of 201,000 jobs.

August 2008: -443,000
August 2009: -229,000
August 2010:   -63,000
August 2011:  233,000   
August 2012:  194,000
August 2013:  201,000
August 2014:  284,000
August 2015:    88,000
August 2016:  264,000
August 2017:    14,000

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