August Jobs Report: Economy Adds 201,000 Jobs; 3.9 Percent Unemployment

Kenny Grant
September 10, 2018

The August numbers beat economists' predictions of about 190,000 jobs added.

Other economists, though, have expected payroll growth to slow as employers increasingly struggle to find available workers now that the jobless rate has dipped below 4%. Through July, the last three months have seen average job gains of 224,000 per month.

Meanwhile, the unemployment rate remained at a steady low of 3.9-percent. They increased payrolls by 18,000 jobs in July, while government employment fell 3,000 in August.

August's job gains were driven by professional and business services as well as health care and wholesale trade.

"The labour market looks great", said Ward McCarthy, chief financial economist at Jefferies in NY.

As for the political implications, Donald Trump has now been in office for 19 full months - February 2017 through August 2018 - and in that time, the economy has created 3.58 million jobs. "These include things like baristas, cashiers and bank tellers, and I think that's helping boost that average wage number", Andrew Chamberlain, chief economist at the job search site Glassdoor, told CBS MoneyWatch this week.

Labor Department officials said employment opportunities increased in many sectors, including healthcare, mining and transportation.

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Employment at sporting goods, hobby, book and music stores rebounded by 9,200 jobs in August after shedding 30,300 jobs in July related to the closing of all Toys-R-Us stores.

The pace of hiring in the United States quickened in August, and wages grew at their fastest pace in nine years - evidence that employers remain confident despite the Trump administration's ongoing conflicts with its trading partners. The average hourly wage in construction was up 3.3 percent over the previous year, but the gain was 3.5 percent back in September of 2016. The year-over-year increase was 2.8 percent in July of 2016.

In August, factories expanded at their quickest pace in 14 years, according to a survey of purchasing managers.

Construction companies hired 23,000 more workers last month after increasing payrolls by 18,000 jobs in July.

US businesses added 204,000 jobs while federal, state and local governments lost 3,000. That would be almost the lowest rate in 50 years. "However, given that jobs added are still above 200,000, showing many more Americans want to work, and wages have started to increase about the 2.7% level, we could be entering that sweet spot for workers that's typical at an expansion's peak".

Another measure showed diminishing labour-market slack.

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