August employment

Mixed news from BLS this morning on the employment situation. The number of jobs went up somewhat by 96,000 in August while the unemployment rate dropped to 8.1%. According to the Wall Street Journal, economists had been expecting a gain of 126,000 jobs with the rate staying at 8.3%. The biggest employment gains were in health care, food services and drinking places, and professional and technical services. Manufacturing dropped by 15,000 due to declines in the auto industry. Interestingly, employment in auto dealers went up. Wholesale and retail trade gained jobs, as did the financial sector. State and local governments continue to be a drag on employment – as they shed 10,000 jobs in August. Federal government employment went up by 3,000.
There were more hopeful signs in part time employment, where the total number of involuntary underemployment declined by 210,000. Both the number of individuals working part time because of slack work and those who could only find part time work declined in August. However, the large drop of 140,000 in those working part time because of slack work could either be due to increased hours or being laid off completely.

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