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Jobs Report: Economy Added 156,000 Jobs in August; Unemployment Rate Little Changed at 4.4 Percent

Today’s jobs report from the Labor Department found the unemployment rate to be largely unchanged at 4.4 percent. It’s up just slightly from last month’s 4.3 percent, which marked a 16 year low.
jobs report
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Job gains this month were reported in manufacturing, construction, professional and business services, and in health care. A few industries experienced particularly strong gains. Among them were construction which added 28,000 jobs and professional and business services which added 40,000. However, federal, state, and local governments lost a total of 9,000 jobs this past month.

The increases were lower than expected, but the numbers still indicate a robust job market. Economists’ forecasts for the change were more in the 180,000 to 190,000 range, according to CNN. These figures would’ve been more in line with recent hiring monthly averages. Still, today’s numbers indicate that the economy and the job market are strong. Part of the reason for slowing hiring rates could be that employers are having a difficult time finding workers.

How Do Unemployment Rates Break Down by Worker Groups?

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This month’s report shows that unemployment rates are holding relatively steady when figures are analyzed along several demographic lines:

  • The unemployment rate for adult men is 4.1 percent.
  • The unemployment rate for adult women in 4.0 percent.
  • The rate for teenagers between 16 and 19 years of age is 13.6 percent.
  • The unemployment rate is 4.0 percent for workers categorized as white.
  • Among those categorized as Asian the rate is just 3.9 percent.
  • Unemployment rates are also largely holding steady for those of Hispanic or Latino ethnicity at 5.2 percent.
  • Unemployment rates are by far the lowest for those categorized as black at a relatively steady 7.7 percent.
  • The unemployment rate for workers over the age of 25 who are high school graduates is 5.1 percent.
  • The unemployment rate is 2.4 percent for workers with a bachelor’s or higher degree.
  • The labor force participation rate was unchanged in August at 62.9 percent.

Has Hurricane Harvey Impacted Data?

The report indicated that the storm hasn’t impacted the data for August.

“Hurricane Harvey had no discernable effect on the employment and unemployment data for August. Household survey data collection was completed before the storm. Establishment survey data collection for this news release was largely completed prior to the storm, and collection rates were within normal ranges nationally and for the affected areas” the report stated. “For information on how unusually severe weather can affect the employment and hours estimates, see the Frequently Asked Questions section of this release.”

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