August Jobs Report: Unemployment Rate Remains At Historic Low

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Ted Goodman Contributor
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The U.S. economy added 156,000 new jobs in August, falling just short of expectations, according to the jobs report released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics Friday.

The unemployment rate had little change, ticking up from 4.3 percent to 4.4 percent. The labor force participation rate remained unchanged at 62.9 percent during President Donald Trump’s seventh full month in office, continuing to trend at its lowest rate since the late 1970s.

The 156,000 jobs falls short of Wall Street’s expectations of 180,000, but the unemployment figure suggests that individuals seeking work are able to find it, with the 4.4 percent figure reflecting natural turnover in the jobs market.

Job gains occurred in manufacturing (36,000), construction (28,000), professional and technical services (22,000), mining (7,000) and food services (22,000).

Employment in other major industries, including wholesale trade, retail trade, transportation and government. Since November 2016, 155,000 jobs have been added in the manufacturing sector, as manufacturers continue to express confidence in the president on issues ranging from taxes to trade.

The report comes as southeast Texas begins recovery efforts following historic flooding from Hurricane Harvey, but the BLS said the hurricane had no discernible effect on the employment and unemployment data for August. The household survey data was completed before the storm, according to acting commissioner of the BLS, William Wiatrowski.

The president is asking Congress for $5.9 billion in aid for the victims of Harvey, raising the stakes for an already packed legislative schedule this fall.

Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen signaled in August that the Fed may raise its benchmark rates, but the underwhelming jobs number may cause a change in thinking. Experts have already been predicting that the Fed would wait until at least December to raise rates.

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