US Bureau of Labor Statistics

The overall unemployment rate remained unchanged in August, at 3.9 percent, as reported by the US Department of Labor. It was 4.4 percent a year ago in August 2017.

In August, the civilian labor force participation rate fell by two tenths of a percent, to 62.7 percent. The participation rate has remained fairly steady since October of 2013.

The employment-population ratio also fell by two tenths of a percent, to 60.3 percent. The employment-population ratio has been trending upward since July 2011, when it hit a low of 58.2 percent.

The unemployment rate for individuals with at least a bachelor’s degree fell by one tenth of a percent to 2.1 percent in August. It was 2.4 percent in August 2017.

Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 201,000 in August. The payroll employment numbers for both June and July 2018 were adjusted. Total employment gains for those months are now 50,000 fewer than previously reported. Considering these revisions, payroll employment gains have averaged 185,000 over the last three months.

Some details directly from the BLS report:


Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 201,000 in August, in line with the average monthly gain of 196,000 over the prior 12 months. Over the month, employment increased in professional and business services, health care, wholesale trade, transportation and warehousing, and mining.

Professional and business services added 53,000 jobs in August and 519,000 jobs over the year.

In August, health care employment rose by 33,000, with job gains in ambulatory health care services (+21,000) and hospitals (+8,000). Health care has added 301,000 jobs over the year.

Wholesale trade employment increased by 22,000 in August and by 99,000 over the year. Durable goods wholesalers added 14,000 jobs over the month and accounted for about two-thirds of the over-the-year job gain in wholesale trade.

Employment in transportation and warehousing rose by 20,000 in August and by 173,000 over the past 12 months. Within the industry, couriers and messengers added 4,000 jobs in August.

Mining employment increased by 6,000 in August, after showing little change in July. Since a recent trough in October 2016, the industry has added 104,000 jobs, almost entirely in support activities for mining.

Employment in construction continued to trend up in August (+23,000) and has increased by 297,000 over the year.

Manufacturing employment changed little in August (-3,000). Over the year, employment in the industry was up by 254,000, with more than three-fourths of the gain in the durable goods component.

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

The average workweek for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls was unchanged at 34.5 hours in August. In manufacturing, the workweek held steady at 41.0 hours, and overtime was unchanged at 3.5 hours. The average workweek for production and nonsupervisory employees on private nonfarm payrolls was 33.8 hours for the fifth consecutive month.

In August, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose by 10 cents to $27.16. Over the year, average hourly earnings have increased by 77 cents, or 2.9 percent. Average hourly earnings of private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees increased by 7 cents to $22.73 in August.