The Economy Added Jobs 130,000 Jobs in August But Missed Expectations

Sep 10, 2019
| Michael Altiero

With the beginning of a new months comes the eagerly anticipated release of the latest Jobs Report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

July’s report overall was seen as a positive, with job growth just narrowly missing estimates and unemployment rate remaining steady. Now, the August 2019 report data has arrived, and once again provides insights into the state of the United States economy and job market.

Did job growth grow or stall? Did the unemployment rate rise or fall? Let’s take a closer look at the numbers and find out.

Job Growth Falls Short of Expectations

The latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that hiring slowed down in August with 130,000 new jobs created, missing estimates that were around 160,000.

Additionally, July’s employment number was revised down from 164,000 to 159,000. It’s also worth noting that there was a big boost in hiring during August as the U.S. government hired 25,000 temporary workers as it prepares for the 2020 census.

For 2019, the economy is averaging 158,000 jobs created each month, while this number was 223,000 in 2018. However, the decrease in this monthly average was forecasted by many economists and experts given the extremely strong performance of the economy last year.

Wage Growth Beats Estimates

Another closely monitored statistic in each month’s Jobs Report is wage growth, which has been over 3% since the second half of 2018.

In August, wage growth came in at 3.2% (a 0.4% increase), beating estimates by one-tenth of a point.

This growth over the last 12 months comes as employers increase compensation to attract and retain workers in an extremely competitive market. However, experts are still somewhat surprised that wage growth hasn’t increased more, which has also kept inflation subdued for the time being.

Unemployment Rate Stays the Same

The unemployment rate in the United States has remained at 3.7% since June after hitting sitting at a 50-year low in May. In August, unemployment rate once again came in at 3.7% for the third straight month.

Meanwhile, another measure of unemployment that includes discouraged workers and those who are underemployed saw an increase from 7.0% in July to 7.2% in August. July’s number was the lowest since December 2000.

Labor force participation, on the other hand, rose to 63.2% which ties for the highest total since August 2013. This was the result of a 590,000 increase in the total number of Americans considered employed, which now sits at a record 157.9 million.

Unemployment rate will continue to be watched in the coming months, especially as concerns mount that an economic downturn could be looming.

Despite the Miss in Jobs, August Wasn’t a Bad Month for the Economy

Even though job expectations fell short, it wasn’t a terrible month for the United States economy. Unemployment rate stayed the same and wage growth did beat expectations while continuing to increase.

We’ll have to wait until early October to see if any of these trends remain the same or change in September.

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