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The growth of nonfarm payroll employment slowed in August, with the addition of just 315,000 jobs, according to the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics

The latest report also included revisions for nonfarm employment in June and July — June’s total added jobs was revised down from 398,000 to 293,000, and July’s number declined from 528,000 to 526,000. This is a combined decrease of 107,000 for the two months, compared to previously reported numbers.

However, total nonfarm employment is now 240,000 jobs above its pre-pandemic level.

Professional and business services leads job growth in August

Professional and business services gained 68,000 jobs in August, with computer systems design and related services (+14,000) and management and technical consulting services (+13,000) leading the way. The industry has added 1.1 million jobs over the past 12 months.

Leisure and hospitality, which was leading job growth in recent months, had less of an increase (+31,000) for the month of August. Employment for the industry is still 1.2 million below its pre-pandemic level. 

Other industries with job gains included:

  • Health care (+48,000)
  • Retail trade (+44,000)
  • Manufacturing (+22,000)
  • Financial activities (+17,000)
  • Wholesale trade (+15,000)

Unemployment rates inch up

The overall unemployment rate rose by 0.2% in August, reaching 3.7% and accounting for 6.0 million people (an increase of 344,000). At 3.5% in July, the unemployment rate had previously returned to pre-pandemic status.

Most major groups saw slight increases in unemployment rates for the month: 

  • Adult men: 3.5% (3.2% in July)
  • Adult women: 3.3% (3.1% in July)
  • Teenagers: 10.4% (11.5% in July)
  • Black: 6.4% (6.0% in July)
  • Hispanic: 4.5% (3.9% in July)
  • Asian: 2.8% (2.6% in July)
  • White: 3.2% (3.1% in July)

Little change in job loss while wages rise

The number of people experiencing permanent job loss jumped to 1.4 million in August, while temporary layoffs changed little at 782,000. Long-term unemployment (jobless for 27 weeks or more) remained at 1.1 million (18.8% of the total unemployed) during the month. The labor force participation rate, now 1.0% below its pre-pandemic status, increased from 62.1% to 62.4%.

Dropping from 7.1% to 6.5%, fewer employees teleworked due to the pandemic in August. The number of people unable to work because of pandemic-related business closures also declined over the month, from 2.2 million to 1.9 million. At 523,000, the number of people unable to look for work due to the pandemic decreased slightly.

Meanwhile, average hourly earnings for private nonfarm employees increased $0.10 to $32.36 in August. This average has gone up 5.2% over the past 12 months.