The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released its Employment Situation report for August 2023, indicating a nuanced picture of the labor market. Here are the key findings:
Household Survey Data:
- The unemployment rate rose to 3.8 percent, reflecting an increase of 0.3 percentage points from the previous month. The number of unemployed persons also saw a rise, reaching 6.4 million.
- Among various worker groups, adult men, whites, and Asians experienced higher unemployment rates in August. Conversely, unemployment rates for adult women, teenagers, Blacks, and Hispanics remained relatively stable.
- The number of job losers and individuals completing temporary jobs increased by 294,000 in August, offsetting the previous month’s decrease.
- The labor force participation rate increased by 0.2 percentage points to 62.8 percent in August, showing a modest rise after several months of stability.
- Approximately 4.2 million individuals were employed part-time for economic reasons, with their hours reduced or unable to find full-time jobs.
- The number of persons not in the labor force but actively seeking jobs remained unchanged at 5.4 million.
- Marginally attached to the labor force were 1.5 million individuals, including 386,000 discouraged workers who believed no jobs were available for them.
Establishment Survey Data:
- Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 187,000 in August, falling below the 12-month average gain of 271,000.
- Health care added 71,000 jobs in August, with notable growth in ambulatory health care services, nursing and residential care facilities, and hospitals.
- Leisure and hospitality employment continued to grow, adding 40,000 jobs in August, though it remains below pre-pandemic levels.
- Social assistance gained 26,000 jobs, in line with the 12-month average.
- Construction employment increased by 22,000, consistent with the average monthly gain over the past year.
- Transportation and warehousing experienced a decline of 34,000 jobs, primarily due to business closures.
- Professional and business services saw a modest gain of 19,000 jobs, while employment in temporary help services continued to decline.
- Information employment remained largely stable in August.
- Average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose by 0.2 percent to $33.82. Over the past year, hourly earnings increased by 4.3 percent.
- The average workweek for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls edged up by 0.1 hour to 34.4 hours in August.
- The report also noted revisions for June and July, resulting in a combined employment decrease of 110,000 from previously reported figures.
These findings present a complex employment landscape marked by various trends across different sectors of the economy.