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BLS Report – August 2021

Monthly Figures Show 235,000 Jobs Added in August, Unemployment Rate Declined to 5.2%

Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 235,000 in August, and the unemployment rate declined by 0.2 percentage point to 5.2 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. So far this year, monthly job growth has averaged 586,000. In August, notable job gains occurred in professional and business services, transportation and warehousing, private education, manufacturing, and other services. Employment in retail trade declined over the month. The number of unemployed persons edged down to 8.4 million, following a large decrease in July. Both measures are down considerably from their highs at the end of the February-April 2020 recession. However, they remain above their levels prior to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

In August, the number of persons employed part time for economic reasons, at 4.5 million, was essentially unchanged. There were 4.4 million persons in this category in February 2020. These individuals, who would have preferred full-time employment, were working part time because their hours had been reduced or they were unable to find full-time jobs. The number of persons not in the labor force who currently want a job declined by 835,000 in August to 5.7 million but remains higher than the level in February 2020 (5.0 million). These individuals were not counted as unemployed because they were not actively looking for work during the last 4 weeks or were unavailable to take a job.

INDUSTRY FOCUS

  • Employment in professional and business services increased by 74,000 in August. Employment rose in architectural and engineering services (+19,000), computer systems design and related services (+10,000), scientific research and development services (+7,000), and office administrative services (+6,000). Since February 2020, employment in professional and business services is down by 468,000, over half of which is in temporary help services
    (-262,000).
  • Transportation and warehousing added 53,000 jobs in August, bringing employment in the industry slightly above (+22,000) its pre-pandemic level in February 2020.
  • In August, employment increased by 40,000 in private education, declined by 21,000 in state government education, and changed little in local government education (-6,000).
  • Manufacturing added 37,000 jobs in August, with gains in motor vehicles and parts (+24,000) and fabricated metal products (+7,000). Employment in manufacturing is down by 378,000 from its pre-pandemic level in February 2020.
  • Employment in information technology increased by 17,000 in August, reflecting a gain in data processing, hosting, and related services (+12,000). Employment in information is down by 150,000 since February 2020.
  • Employment in financial activities rose by 16,000 over the month, with most of the gain occurring in real estate (+11,000). Employment in financial activities is down by 29,000 since February 2020.
  • In August, employment in leisure and hospitality was unchanged, after increasing by an average of 350,000 per month over the prior 6 months. In August, a job gain in arts, entertainment, and recreation (+36,000) was more than offset by a loss in food services and drinking places (-42,000).

    Source: Bureau of Labor and Statistics, THE EMPLOYMENT SITUATION — August 2021
     

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