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Jobless Rate Drops to 6.1%, but Just 142,000 Jobs Added in August

Jobless Rate Drops to 6.1%, but Just 142,000 Jobs Added in August

The economy added 142,000 jobs in August, down from July’s increase of 209,000 new jobs, but the unemployment rate dipped slightly to 6.1% compared to July’s 6.2%, according to figures released this morning by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Over the past year, the unemployment rate has dropped by 1.1 percentage points and the number of jobless workers has decreased by 1.7 million.

While the improved jobs numbers over the past several months show the economy is beginning to recover, job growth is still not robust enough to provide jobs for the millions who remain out of work or to boost wages for most Americans.

AFL-CIO Policy Director and Special Counsel Damon Silvers said,

Despite some real improvements lately, labor market conditions are still consistent with a recession, especially when it comes to wages where there has been no trend whatsoever that shows any significant move to higher wages. 

The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) was 3 million, compared to 3.2 million in July. But even with that drop, long-term joblessness continues to plague the economy. Yet House Republicans have, since the end of last year, refused to allow a vote on the extension of the Emergency Unemployment Compensation benefits program that was approved by a bipartisan Senate majority. They are unlikely to change course when they return to work next week following their five-week summer vacation—something long-term unemployed workers certainly didn’t take.

Last month’s biggest job gains were in professional and business services (47,000), health care (34,000), leisure and hospitality (22,000) and construction (20,000).

Employment in other major industries, including manufacturing, retail trade, wholesale trade, transportation and warehousing, information, financial activities and government, showed little change in July.

Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM) President Scott Paul said:

This jobs report is a big disappointment for factory workers. While we can never read too much into just a month’s worth of data, a goose egg for manufacturing doesn’t look like progress to me. And it will be hard to consistently move the manufacturing jobs number up unless our goods trade deficit with China comes down.

Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates in August showed little or no change for adult men (5.7%), adult women (5.7%), teenagers (19.6%), whites (5.3%), blacks (11.4%) and Latinos (7.5%).

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