US Bureau of Labor Statistics

The overall unemployment rate rose by one tenth of a percent in August, to 4.4 percent, as reported by the US Department of Labor. It was 4.9 percent a year ago in August 2016.

The civilian labor force participation rate remained unchanged in August, at 62.9 percent. The labor force participation rate has not changed significantly since late 2013.

The employment-population ratio also fell by one tenth of a percent to 60.1 percent in August. The employment-population ratio has been steadily increasing since July 2011 and more significantly since October 2013.*

Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 156,000 in August. The payroll employment numbers for both June and July of 2017 were adjusted. Employment gains for those months are now 41,000 fewer than previously reported.

The unemployment rate for individuals with at least a bachelor’s degree remained steady at 2.4 percent in August. The rate for individuals with at least a bachelor’s degree has not significantly changed since March 2015.

*It should be noted that as of January 2016, updated population estimates are being utilized when calculating employment data. BLS did not modify previous months utilizing the new estimates, so if comparing data from 2016 to earlier months, understand that there will be slight differences in the way the data was derived.

Some details directly from the BLS report:


Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 156,000 in August. Job gains occurred in manufacturing, construction, professional and technical services, health care, and mining. Employment growth has averaged 176,000 per month thus far this year, about in line with the average monthly gain of 187,000 in 2016.

Manufacturing employment rose by 36,000 in August. Job gains occurred in motor vehicles and parts (+14,000), fabricated metal products (+5,000), and computer and electronic products (+4,000). Manufacturing has added 155,000 jobs since a recent employment low in November 2016.

In August, construction employment rose by 28,000, after showing little change over the prior 5 months. Employment among residential specialty trade contractors edged up by 12,000 over the month.

Employment in professional and technical services continued to trend up in August (+22,000) and has grown by 262,000 over the last 12 months. In August, job gains occurred in computer systems design and related services (+8,000).

Health care employment continued on an upward trend over the month (+20,000) and has risen by 328,000 over the year. Employment in hospitals edged up over the month (+6,000).

Mining continued to add jobs in August (+7,000), with all of the growth in support activities for mining. Since a recent low in October 2016, employment in mining has risen by 62,000, or 10 percent.

Employment in food services and drinking places changed little in August (+9,000), following an increase of 53,000 in July. Over the year, the industry has added 283,000 jobs.

Employment in other major industries, including wholesale trade, retail trade, transportation and warehousing, information, financial activities, and government, showed little change over the month.

The average workweek for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls declined by 0.1 hour to 34.4 hours in August. In manufacturing, the workweek declined by 0.2 hour to 40.7 hours, while overtime was unchanged at 3.3 hours. The average workweek for production and nonsupervisory employees on private nonfarm payrolls was 33.7 hours for the fifth consecutive month.

In August, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose by 3 cents to $26.39, after rising by 9 cents in July. Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings have increased by 65 cents, or 2.5 percent. In August, average hourly earnings of private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees increased by 4 cents to $22.12.