The US economy added 235,000 jobs in August, slower than June and July, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). While job growth was slower, the overall unemployment rate dropped 0.2 percentage points to 5.2% for the month. The BLS also revised job data for June and July up from previous estimates, adding 134,000 more jobs for those months combined. US total employment is now at 147.1 million, 3.5% lower than February 2020.
This is the most complete job market data on the since the Delta variant drove COVID-19 cases up across the country.
Two sectors that led early job summer growth were static or lost ground in August. Leisure and hospitality led job growth for June and July but did not add any jobs in August as summer vacation season ended and COVID-19 cases grew.
The government sector lost jobs in August. Notably, public education lost 27,000 jobs while schools went back into session for some states.
The professional and business services sector led August job growth, adding 74,000 or 31.5% of all new jobs for the month. Transportation and warehousing and manufacturing also had strong job growth.
Average hourly earnings continued growth this month, increasing by 17 cents to $30.73.
The US unemployment rate fell 0.2 percentage points to 5.2% in August. This is still 1.7 percentage points above the pre-pandemic unemployment rate. Despite the improvement, BLS data shows about 400,000 more people “did not work at all or worked fewer hours at some point...due to the pandemic,” compared to July.
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