U.S. economy added 173,000 jobs in August

Last updated on July 2nd, 2019 at 09:04 am

The U.S. economy added 173,000 jobs in August, according to the U.S. Labor Department, the smallest monthly job increase since March.

The Labor Department also said the country added more jobs in June and July than originally reported. In July the U.S. economy added 245,000 jobs, instead of 215,000 as originally reported, and in June the job gain was also 245,000, revised up from 231,000.

Over the past 3 months, job gains have averaged 221,000 per month.

The U.S. unemployment rate in August edged down to 5.1 percent. 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.

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.

The number of unemployed workers with construction experience dropped to the lowest total for August since 2001, as hiring slowed despite robust demand for construction, according to an analysis by the Associated General Contractors of America. Association officials cautioned that the hiring slowdown likely has more to do with the lack of available workers in many parts of the country than it does low demand.

“The recent slowdown in construction hiring appears to reflect difficulty in finding qualified employees rather than lack of projects needing workers,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “The pool of qualified construction workers will need to expand if firms are going to be able to keep pace with rising construction demand.”

However, manufacturing employment decreased by 17,000 in August, the Labor Department said. And employment in mining fell by 9,000 jobs in August, with losses concentrated in support activities for mining (-7,000). Since reaching a peak in December 2014, mining employment has declined by 90,000.

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 Dow Jones Industrial Average fell more than 250 point this morning as some investors are concerned that the continued job increases will cause the Federal Reserve to finally raise interest rates.

Sign up for BizTimes Daily Alerts

Stay up-to-date on the people, companies and issues that impact business in Milwaukee and Southeast Wisconsin

Andrew is the editor of BizTimes Milwaukee. He joined BizTimes in 2003, serving as managing editor and real estate reporter for 11 years. A University of Wisconsin-Madison graduate, he is a lifelong resident of the state. He lives in Muskego with his wife, Seng, their son, Zach, and their dog, Hokey. He is an avid sports fan and is a member of the Muskego Athletic Association board of directors.

No posts to display