The US Department of Labor (DoL) announced Friday that the domestic employment market shed 93,000 non-farm jobs during August – nearly twice the 49,000 positions hiring managers dropped the month before (See Jobless Rate Drops; Employers Still Slashing Positions).
DoL data showed that job losses continued in manufacturing, information, and other sectors. Since July 2000, manufacturing employment has declined continuously, shedding nearly 16% of its jobs. Meanwhile, employment in the information sector fell by 16,000 over the month. Since its recent peak in March 2001, the number of jobs in this sector has declined by 459,000 or about 12%. Telecommunications employment has declined continuously since March 2001 and fell 7,000 over the month.
The other half of the DoL’s report held a morsel of good news – but only a small one. DoL said the unemployment rate ticked down to 6.1% from 6.2% in the previous month.
Friday’s unexpectedly grim figures were another sign that Americans continue struggling to find jobs even as other areas of the economy appear to be recovering. A recent string of better than expected data on retail sales, durable goods, consumer sentiment and housing had led economists to believe the tough labor market might be starting to improve.
Analysts participating in Reuters’ regular survey had a bad day all around Friday: They had called for a 12,000-job increase and for the jobless rate to hold steady at 6.2%.
DoL announced on Thursday that the queue for unemployed Americans applying for initial unemployment benefits took an unexpected jump of 15,000 to 413,000 for the week ending August 30 (See Fragile Recovery Expectations Shattered By Jobless Claims Jump ).