NATNews Blog > September 2015 > Unemployment drops to 5.1 percent, as economy adds 173,000 jobs

    Unemployment drops to 5.1 percent, as economy adds 173,000 jobs

    9/4/2015 8:07:15 AM

    Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 173,000 in August, and the unemployment rate edged down to 5.1 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Job gains occurred in health care and social assistance and in financial activities. Manufacturing and mining lost jobs.
     
    Household Survey Data
     
    In August, the unemployment rate edged down to 5.1 percent, and the number of unemployed persons edged down to 8.0 million. Over the year, the unemployment rate and the number of unemployed persons were down by 1.0 percentage point and 1.5 million, respectively.
     
    Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rate for whites declined to 4.4 percent in August. The rates for adult men (4.7 percent), adult women(4.7 percent), teenagers (16.9 percent), blacks (9.5 percent), Asians(3.5 percent), and Hispanics (6.6 percent) showed little change in August.
     
    The number of persons unemployed for less than 5 weeks decreased by 393,000 to 2.1 million in August. The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) held at 2.2 million in August and accounted for 27.7 percent of the unemployed. Over the past 12 months, the number of long-term unemployed is down by 779,000.
     
    In August, the civilian labor force participation rate was 62.6 percent for the third consecutive month. The employment-population ratio, at 59.4 percent, was about unchanged in August and has shown little movement thus far this year.
    The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons (sometimes referred to as involuntary part-time workers) was little changed in August at 6.5 million. These individuals, who would have preferred full-time employment, were working part time because their hours had been cut back or because they were unable to find a full-time job.
     
    In August, 1.8 million persons were marginally attached to the labor force, down by 329,000 from a year earlier. (The data are not seasonally adjusted.) These individuals were not in the labor force, wanted and were available for work, and had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months. They were not counted as unemployed because they had not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey.
     
    Among the marginally attached, there were 624,000 discouraged workers in August, down by 151,000 from a year earlier. (The data are not seasonally adjusted.) Discouraged workers are persons not currently looking for work because they believe no jobs are available for them. The remaining 1.2 million persons marginally attached to the labor force in August had not searched for work for reasons such as school attendance or family responsibilities.
     
    Establishment Survey Data
     
    Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 173,000 in August. Over the prior 12 months, employment growth had averaged 247,000 per month. In August, job gains occurred in health care and social assistance and in financial activities. Employment in manufacturing and mining declined.
     
    Health care and social assistance added 56,000 jobs in August. Health care employment increased by 41,000 over the month, with job growth occurring in ambulatory health care services (+21,000) and hospitals (+16,000). Employment rose by 16,000 in social assistance, which includes child day care services and services for the elderly and disabled. Over the year, employment has risen by 457,000 in health care and by 107,000 in social assistance.
     
    In August, financial activities employment increased by 19,000, with job gains in real estate (+8,000) and in securities, commodity contracts, and investments (+5,000). Over the year, employment in financial activities has grown by 170,000.
     
    Employment in professional and business services continued to trend up in August (+33,000) and has increased by 641,000 over the year.
     
    Employment in food services and drinking places continued on an upward trend in August (+26,000), in line with its average monthly gain of 31,000 over the prior 12 months.
     
    Manufacturing employment decreased by 17,000 in August, after changing little in July (+12,000). Job losses occurred in a number of component industries, including fabricated metal products and food manufacturing (-7,000 each). These losses more than offset gains in motor vehicles and parts (+6,000) and in miscellaneous durable goods manufacturing (+4,000). Thus far this year, overall employment in manufacturing has shown little net change.
     
    Employment in mining fell in August (-9,000), with losses concentrated in support activities for mining (-7,000). Since reaching a peak in December 2014, mining employment has declined by 90,000.
     
    Employment in other major industries, including construction, wholesale trade, retail trade, transportation and warehousing, and government, showed little change over the month.
     
    The average workweek for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls edged up by 0.1 hour to 34.6 hours in August. The manufacturing workweek was unchanged at 40.8 hours, and factory overtime edged down by 0.1 hour to 3.3 hours. The average workweek for production and nonsupervisory employees on private nonfarm payrolls was unchanged at 33.7 hours.
     
    In August, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose by 8 cents to $25.09, following a 6-cent gain in July. Hourly earnings have risen by 2.2 percent over the year. Average hourly earnings of private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees increased by 5 cents to $21.07 in August.
     
    The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for June was revised from +231,000 to +245,000, and the change for July was revised from +215,000 to +245,000. With these revisions, employment gains in June and July combined were 44,000 more than previously reported. Over the past 3 months, job gains have averaged 221,000 per month.
     
    The Employment Situation for September is scheduled to be released on Friday, October 2, 2015, at 8:30 a.m. (EDT).