Economy

United States jobs growth misses forecasts as unemployment rises

United States jobs growth misses forecasts as unemployment rises

The U.S. economy created an estimated 156,000 jobs in August, falling slightly short of analysts' estimates, according to the Labor Department.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics summary said the unemployment rate rose in August to 4.4 percent, from the previous 4.3 percent.

Still, the report shows job growth spread across most of the economy, with almost two-thirds of industry sectors adding jobs during the month.

Wage growth also slowed in August, with the average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rising by 3 cents, to $26.39.

Labor Department officials Friday made it clear that Harvey, which has pounded southeast Texas over the last week, had no effect on the jobs report because data were collected earlier in the month.

Trump has pledged to add 25 million jobs over the next decade - a goal economists say is unrealistic. However, as a result of revisions to prior months, the rate for July is now 2.072%, which is the record.

Harvey's impact could show up in the September jobs report if many businesses in the region are still closed two weeks from now, when they collect this month's data. Despite ostensibly tighter labour markets, wage growth has been stuck at 2.5% over the last 5 months, similar to the 2.6% average increase past year.

The August jobs report is out and it's a miss.

Meanwhile, employment gains for June was revised down to 210,000 from 231,000 previously reported, and job gains in July was revised lower to 189,000 from 209,000. Professional and business services led the job gains, with 40,000. The unemployment rate did tick higher in August but to a 4.4% rate that is still below the Fed's estimate of its long-run "full-employment" level. Average weekly hours were actually down, sufficiently so as to drive average weekly earnings down from last month's report.

The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons (sometimes referred to as involuntary part-time workers) was essentially unchanged at 5.3 million in August and has shown little movement in recent months. Specifically, policymakers have been looking for signs of accelerated wage growth, which has been stuck around 2.5 percent for most of the year.

All told, if current averages keep up, we're on track to see the USA economy add about 2.1 million jobs this calendar year, which isn't bad, but which would fall short of last year's totals. Though that isn't much, it nonetheless won't help a labor market that is losing steam.


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