It looks like the US labor market is continuing its slow recovery – ever so slowly. This morning the BLS reported that employment in August rose by 1.4 million, in line with expectations.
Employment in both tangible and intangible producing industries rose. Similar to the previous months, increases occurred in industries where there is physical presence with customers, specifically Accommodation & Food Services and Trade, Transportation & Utilities.
On the intangible-producing side of the economy, employment in Professional & Business Services and Educational & Health Services grew. Notably, employment the tangible-producing parts of Educational and Health Services declined – specifically in nursing and residential care facilities and child care centers.
Telecommunication also saw a decline in employment while all other industries saw modest gains. Manufacturing employment continued to grow but at a very weak level. And Government employment continued to grow, adding almost 600,000 over the past two months.
Once again, under normal circumstances this would be a very positive increase. However, in the age of COVID-19, this is only a modest rebound in employment. And keep in mind the worrisome trend of furloughed workers being permanently let go.
Much more needs to be done.