Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 201,000 in August, and the unemployment
rate was unchanged at 3.9 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today.
Job gains occurred in professional and business services, health care, wholesale trade,
transportation and warehousing, and mining.
Household Survey Data
The unemployment rate remained at 3.9 percent in August, and the number of unemployed
persons, at 6.2 million, changed little. (See table A-1.)
Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult men (3.5 percent),
adult women (3.6 percent), teenagers (12.8 percent), Whites (3.4 percent), Blacks
(6.3 percent), Asians (3.0 percent), and Hispanics (4.7 percent) showed little or no
change in August. (See tables A-1, A-2, and A-3.)
The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) was little
changed in August at 1.3 million and accounted for 21.5 percent of the unemployed.
Over the year, the number of long-term unemployed has declined by 403,000. (See
Both the labor force participation rate, at 62.7 percent, and the employment-population
ratio, at 60.3 percent, declined by 0.2 percentage point in August. (See table A-1.)
The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons (sometimes referred to as
involuntary part-time workers), at 4.4 million, changed little over the month but was
down by 830,000 over the year. These individuals, who would have preferred full-time
employment, were working part time because their hours had been reduced or they were
unable to find full-time jobs. (See table A-8.)
In August, 1.4 million persons were marginally attached to the labor force, little
different from a year earlier. (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. (See table A-16.)
Among the marginally attached, there were 434,000 discouraged workers in August,
essentially unchanged from a year earlier. (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 1.0 million persons marginally attached
to the labor force in August had not searched for work for reasons such as school
attendance or family responsibilities. (See table A-16.)
Establishment Survey Data
Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 201,000 in August, in line with the
average monthly gain of 196,000 over the prior 12 months. Over the month, employment
increased in professional and business services, health care, wholesale trade,
transportation and warehousing, and mining. (See table B-1.)
Professional and business services added 53,000 jobs in August and 519,000 jobs over
In August, health care employment rose by 33,000, with job gains in ambulatory health
care services (+21,000) and hospitals (+8,000). Health care has added 301,000 jobs over
Wholesale trade employment increased by 22,000 in August and by 99,000 over the year.
Durable goods wholesalers added 14,000 jobs over the month and accounted for about
two-thirds of the over-the-year job gain in wholesale trade.
Employment in transportation and warehousing rose by 20,000 in August and by 173,000
over the past 12 months. Within the industry, couriers and messengers added 4,000 jobs
Mining employment increased by 6,000 in August, after showing little change in July.
Since a recent trough in October 2016, the industry has added 104,000 jobs, almost
entirely in support activities for mining.
Employment in construction continued to trend up in August (+23,000) and has increased
by 297,000 over the year.
Manufacturing employment changed little in August (-3,000). Over the year, employment
in the industry was up by 254,000, with more than three-fourths of the gain in the
durable goods component.
Employment showed little change over the month in other major industries, including
retail trade, information, financial activities, leisure and hospitality, and
The average workweek for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls was unchanged at
34.5 hours in August. In manufacturing, the workweek held steady at 41.0 hours, and
overtime was unchanged at 3.5 hours. The average workweek for production and
nonsupervisory employees on private nonfarm payrolls was 33.8 hours for the fifth
consecutive month. (See tables B-2 and B-7.)
In August, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose
by 10 cents to $27.16. Over the year, average hourly earnings have increased by 77
cents, or 2.9 percent. Average hourly earnings of private-sector production and
nonsupervisory employees increased by 7 cents to $22.73 in August. (See tables B-3
The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for June was revised down from +248,000
to +208,000, and the change for July was revised down from +157,000 to +147,000. With
these revisions, employment gains in June and July combined were 50,000 less than
previously reported. (Monthly revisions result from additional reports received from
businesses and government agencies since the last published estimates and from the
recalculation of seasonal factors.) After revisions, job gains have averaged 185,000
per month over the last 3 months.