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US Employment Situation

Erica L. Groshen, Commissioner, Bureau of Labor Statistics

September 5, 2014 - "Nonfarm payroll employment rose by 142,000 in August, and the unemployment rate was little changed at 6.1 percent. Employment rose in professional and business services and in health care.

"Incorporating the revisions for June and July, which reduced total nonfarm employment by 28,000 on net, monthly job gains have averaged 207,000 over the past 3 months. In the 12 months prior to August, employment growth averaged 212,000 per month.

"Professional and business services added 47,000 jobs in August. Within this industry, employment in management of companies and enterprises increased by 8,000 over the month. Employment continued to trend up in administrative and support services (+23,000), architectural and engineering services (+3,000), and in management and technical consulting services (+3,000). Over the year, employment in professional and business services has expanded by 639,000.

"Health care employment grew by 34,000 in August with job gains in offices of physicians (+8,000) and in hospitals (+7,000). Over the past 12 months, employment in health care has risen by 233,000.

"Employment in food services and drinking places continued to trend up in August (+22,000) and is up by 289,000 over the year.

"Construction employment also continued on an upward trend in August (+20,000). This is in line with its average monthly job gain of 18,000 over the prior 12 months.

"Manufacturing employment was unchanged in August, following an increase of 28,000 in July. Employment in motor vehicles and parts manufacturing was down by 5,000 over the month after increasing by 13,000 in July. Firms in this industry laid off fewer workers than usual for factory retooling in July and recalled fewer workers than usual in August. This contributed to a seasonally adjusted increase in July and decrease in August. Employment growth in motor vehicles and parts manufacturing averaged 4,000 over the past 2 months, the same as its average monthly gain for the 12 months prior to July.

"Retail trade employment was little changed in August (-8,000). Within retail, employment declined in food and beverage stores (-17,000); this industry was impacted by employment disruptions at a grocery store chain in New England. Elsewhere in retail, employment increased in auto dealerships (+5,000).

"Employment in other major industries showed little change over the month.

"Average hourly earnings of all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose by 6 cents to $24.53 in August. Over the 12 months ending in August, average hourly earnings grew by 2.1 percent. From July 2013 to July 2014, the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) increased by 2.0 percent.

"Turning to measures from the survey of households, the unemployment rate was little changed in August, at 6.1 percent, but is down by 1.1 percentage points over the year.

"In August, there were 9.6 million unemployed persons, little different from July. The number of long-term unemployed (those unemployed 27 weeks or more) declined by 192,000 over the month. The total number of unemployed has fallen by 1.7 million over the year, with about three-fourths of this decline among the long-term unemployed.

"The labor force participation rate, at 62.8 percent, was little changed in August and has been essentially unchanged since April.

"In August, the employment-population ratio was 59.0 percent for the third consecutive month. Over the year, however, the employment-population ratio is up by 0.4 percentage point.

"Among the employed, the number of people working part time for economic reasons was little changed at 7.3 million in August. (These individuals, also referred to as involuntary part-time workers, would have preferred full-time employment, but had their hours cut or were unable to find full-time work.)

"Among people who were neither working nor looking for work in August, 2.1 million were classified as marginally attached to the labor force, down by 201,000 over the year. (These individuals 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.) The number of discouraged workers, a subset of the marginally attached who believed that no jobs were available for them, was 775,000 in August, little changed over the year.

"In summary, nonfarm payroll employment rose by 142,000 in August, and the unemployment rate was little changed at 6.1 percent."

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, US Department of Labor

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