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Employment Blog September 2019

This Employment Blog is taken from the U S Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics. Nonfarm payroll employment rose by 130,000 in August, and the unemployment rate remained unchanged at 3.7 percent. Employment in federal government rose, largely reflecting the hiring of temporary workers for the 2020 Census. Other notable job gains occurred in health care and financial activities, while employment declined in mining. Payroll employment growth has moderated this year. Monthly job growth has averaged 158,000 through August, compared with 223,000 per month in 2018. (Incorporating revisions for June and July, which decreased employment by 20,000, monthly job gains have averaged 156,000 over the past 3 months.) In August, employment rose in federal government (+28,000), mainly due to the hiring of 25,000 temporary workers in preparation for the 2020 Census. This is detailed in Charts 1 and 2 below.

 Health care added 24,000 jobs in August. Hospitals added 9,000 jobs over the month, and employment continued to trend up in ambulatory health care services (+12,000). Health care has added 392,000 jobs over the year.

 Financial activities employment grew by 15,000 in August, following a large increase in July (+20,000). Within the industry, insurance carriers and related activities added 7,000 jobs over the month.

Employment in professional and business services continued to trend up in August (+37,000). Monthly job growth in the industry has averaged 34,000 thus far this year, below the average increase of 47,000 per month in 2018.

Employment in computer systems design and related services rose by 10,000 in August, in line with recent growth. Management of companies and enterprises also added 10,000 jobs over the month.

 In August, employment in social assistance continued to trend up (+13,000). Over the past 6 months, social assistance has added 100,000 jobs, mostly in individual and family services.

In August, mining employment declined by 6,000. Mining has lost 12,000 jobs since May, with losses concentrated in support activities for mining.

Retail trade employment changed little in August (-11,000). General merchandise stores (which include department stores, 3 warehouse clubs, and supercenters) lost 15,000 jobs over the month and 80,000 jobs over the year. Building material and garden supply stores added 9,000 jobs over the month.

Employment in manufacturing remained little changed in August (+3,000). So far in 2019, job growth in the industry has been markedly slower than in 2018. Employment growth in manufacturing has averaged 6,000 per month through August of this year, compared with 22,000 per month in 2018. The manufacturing workweek increased by 0.2 hour to 40.6 hours in August, after declining by 0.3 hour in July.

Employment also showed little change over the month in construction, in transportation and warehousing, and in leisure and hospitality. Job growth in these industries has moderated thus far in 2019 compared with 2018.

From August 2018 to August 2019, real average hourly earnings increased 1.8 percent, seasonally adjusted. The change in real a verage hourly earnings combined with a 0.6-percent decrease in the average workweek resulted in a 1.3-percent increase in real average weekly earnings over this period. This is detailed in Chart 3 below.


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