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Job Growth Slows in August
Unemployment Remains at Near-Historic Low
JOB GROWTH: As was the case last month, fewer new jobs were created this month than in the prior month. In August, 130,000 new jobs were added, with average monthly hiring of 158,000 for 2019.
TOP INDUSTRIES: Growth in August was strongest across healthcare and financial activities. There was also a bump in federal government hiring of temporary workers to support the upcoming census.
UNEMPLOYMENT: Unchanged from the previous two months, the unemployment rate remained at its near-record low level of 3.7%.
WAGES: Wage growth continued its upward movement in August, with average hourly earnings for the year steady at 3.2%.
WORK WEEK: The work week lengthened slightly in August, with average hours moving up to 34.4.
TEMPORARY JOB TRENDS: The temporary help sector added a healthy 15,400 new jobs in August, but that increase followed a loss over the previous three months of 12,800.
WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN? According to the latest labor market indicators, the economy continues to move forward, although clearly not as briskly as it did in 2018. In August, both the unemployment rate and wage growth offered positive signs of strength, despite a slower pace of hiring activity. Census hiring offered a positive, albeit temporary, bump in the numbers, but fewer new jobs in manufacturing,
transportation and warehousing may reflect tariff concerns. A slowdown in hiring may also point directly to the sustained tightening of the labor market, challenging employers to find the talent needed to fill workforce gaps.
This newsletter references the BLS Report of August activity, released 9/6/19.
Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Steinberg Employment Research, CNBC, Reuters, Bloomberg, CBS, The New York Times