Unemployment rate remains at 3.7% as 130K jobs added in August

U.S. services sector suggests economy weathering trade storm

US Services Sector Growth Accelerates; Private Payrolls Jump

The Labor Department's closely watched monthly employment report on Friday will come in the wake of a survey on Tuesday that showed manufacturing contracting for the first time in three years in August. Employment in federal government rose, "largely reflecting" the hiring of temporary workers for the 2020 Census, it said.

A year ago, the black unemployment rate stood at 6.6 percent while the white unemployment rate was 3.4 percent, meaning black unemployment was 185 percent of white unemployment.

130,000 jobs, 3.7% unemployment, 3.1% annual wage growth "On private payrolls which exclude government workers, we forecast an increase of 120,000, implying public employment should grow by 10,000 in August", Joseph Song wrote.

The labor force participation rate, or the proportion of working-age Americans who have a job or are looking for one, increased to 63.2% last month from 63.0% in July. The employment-population ratio increased by 0.2 percentage point to 60.9 percent, the highest level since December 2008.

Average hourly earnings for all private-sector workers in August rose by 11 cents, or 0.4 percent, to 28.11 US dollars.

Larry Kudlow, the chief White House economic advisor, told CNBC Friday morning that the 130,000 jobs added was "a very solid number", but added that "August is always a quirky month".

Financial activities employment rose by 15,000, with almost half of the gain occurring in insurance carriers and related activities (+7,000). Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings have increased by 3.2 percent.

Job growth has averaged 158,000 per month thus far this year, below the average monthly gain of 223,000 in 2018. That followed 9-cent gains in both June and July. Employment in professional and technical services rose just 14,800 in August, well below the average of 24,200 over the past year; although this followed strong growth in both June and July. "There is some upside risk to our nonfarm payrolls growth forecast from potential early hiring of 2020 census workers". Mining and logging, however, lost 5,000 jobs in August and total gains in manufacturing was just 3,000.

Employment in professional and business services continued to trend up in August (+37,000).

That reflected the household survey's count of employment rising by 590,000, while the number of unemployed people fell by 19,000 to 6.04 million.

Retail trade employment changed little in August (-11,000). The average workweek rose to 34.4 hours in August from 34.3 hours in July. A measure of hours worked, which is a proxy for gross domestic product, increased 0.4 percent after falling 0.2 percent in July. Since the election, this amounts to real wage growth of almost $2,000 for someone working 40 hours per week all year at the average wage rate. (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 156,000 per month over the last 3 months.

That, together with a contraction in manufacturing employment, suggests nonfarm payrolls probably increased at a steady clip in August, even though the ADP National Employment Report on Thursday showed private payrolls surging by 195,000 jobs this month after rising by 142,000 in July.

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