“Little” Movement in Jobs Picture in August

September 3, 2010 (PLANSPONSOR.com) – The Labor Department said that August’s unemployment numbers were “changed little”, but the change wasn’t good.


Nonfarm payroll employment shed 54,000 jobs during the month – a decline characterized as “changed little” in a Labor Department press release, while the unemployment rate crept up to 9.6% from 9.5% in June, although the DoL chose to describe that movement as “about unchanged.”   

The private sector added jobs during the month – 67,000 of them, while government employment fell, as 114,000 temporary workers hired for the decennial census completed their work (120,000 government jobs were lost in total).

There was some good news, as the change in total nonfarm payroll employment for June was revised from a loss of 221,000 jobs to a loss of 175,000, and the change for July was revised from a loss of 131,000 to a loss of 54,000.

As for August, among the major worker groups, the unemployment rate was:

  • 9.8% – adult men
  • 8.0% – adult women
  • 26.3% – teenagers
  • 8.7% – whites
  • 16.3% – blacks
  • 12.0% – Hispanics
  • 7.2% – Asians

The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks and over) declined by 323,000 over the month to 6.2 million. In August, more than four in ten (42.0%) had been jobless for 27 weeks or more.

The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons (sometimes referred to as involuntary part-time workers) increased by 331,000 over the month to 8.9 million. This includes individuals who were working part time because their hours had been cut back or because they were unable to find a full-time job.

Among sectors, employment in health care increased by 28,000 in August, with the largest gains occurring in ambulatory health care services (+17,000) and hospitals (+9,000).  The DoL said that thus far in 2010, the health care industry has added an average of 20,000 jobs per month.  Within professional and business services, employment in temporary help services was up by 17,000.   

 Mining employment rose by 8,000 in August, though manufacturing employment declined by 27,000 over the month.  Construction employment was up (+19,000) in August, though this change partially reflected the return to payrolls of 10,000 workers who were on strike in July. 

Employment in retail trade was “about unchanged” over the month, according to the DoL; actually a net loss of 2,000 jobs. 

As for those temporary Census workers, their number peaked in May at 564,000 – but there were still 82,000 on the payroll as of August. 

The average workweek for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls was unchanged over the month at 34.2 hours. The manufacturing workweek for all employees increased by 0.1 hour to 40.2 hours, and factory overtime was up by 0.1 hour. The average workweek for production and nonsupervisory employees on private nonfarm payrolls increased by 0.1 hour to 33.5 hours, according to the DoL. 

Average hourly earnings of all employees on private nonfarm payrolls increased by 6 cents, or 0.3%, to $22.66 in August. In August, average hourly earnings of private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees increased by 3 cents, or 0.2%, to $19.08.  

More information is available online at http://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.nr0.htm