The United States added 1.37 millions jobs in August, the fourth straight monthly gain. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg had expected an increase of 1.35 million jobs.
The official unemployment rate fell by more than expected by almost two percentage points to 8.4%. (Adjusted for the misclassification of workers who should have been labeled as unemployed, but who check employed on their survey because they’re on furlough– a problem plaguing the data in recent months–the jobless rate would have been 9.1%.) The U-6 unemployment rate, which includes discouraged workers who have stopped searching for jobs and workers with part-time jobs who would like full-time employment fell to 14.2% from 16.5%.
The month’s gains were buoyed by the hiring of 238,000 temporary Census workers.
The gains were spread across industries with the retail sector adding about 249,000 jobs, while professional business services increased by 197,000 and transportation and warehousing was up about 78,000. But the recent gains in leisure and hospitality (restaurants and hotels) slowed to 174,000 in August from 621,000 in July. The 29,000 increase in manufacturing jobs was less than half the median estimate of economists.
One troubling figure from the report was that the number of permanent job losses rose by more than half a million to 3.41 million, after being little changed in July. The majority of the 10.3 million people who lost their job or completed a temporary job–about 6.16 million–continue to be on temporary layoff or furlough. (Furlough means they are still receiving benefits such as healthcare from employers.)