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U.S. unemployment rate for August: up to 9.6%

Nonfarm payroll employment was down slightly (-54,000) in August 2010, and the unemployment rate increased slightly to 9.6% from the 9.5% rate in July and June. “The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for June was revised from -221,000 to -175,000, and the change for July was revised from -131,000 to -54,000.” Government employment dropped by 114,000 as temporary census workers completed their work. Private sector payroll employment edged up modestly (+67,000).

From May through August, the jobless rate remained in the range of 9.5 to 9.7%. The number of unemployed people in August was 14.9 million. According to the report:

“Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rate for adult men (9.8 percent), adult women (8.0 percent), teenagers (26.3 percent), whites (8.7 percent), blacks (16.3 percent), and Hispanics (12.0 percent) showed little change in August. The jobless rate for Asians was 7.2 percent, not seasonally adjusted.”

The number of long-term unemployed (jobless for 27 weeks or more) declined by 323,000 in August to 6.2 million. Of all unemployed in August, 42% belonged to the long-term unemployed. The number of persons employed part-time for economic reasons (“involuntary part-time workers”) increased by 331,000 in August, to 8.9 million. These folks worked part-time because their hours were reduced or because they could not find a full-time job.

About 2.4 million people were marginally attached to the workforce, little changed from a year ago. “These individuals were not in the labor force, wanted and were available for work, and had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months. They were not counted as unemployed because they had not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey.” There were also 1.1 million discouraged workers in the “marginally attached” category who believe that no jobs are available for them, up 352,000 from last year. The remaining 1.3 million marginally attached persons had not searched for work in the four weeks prior to the survey for reasons such as school attendence or family responsibilities.

Although gains in private sector employment have been modest, employment has increased by 763,00 since the most recent low in December 2009. The report had the following to say about various job categories:

“Employment in health care increased by 28,000 in August, with the largest gains occurring in ambulatory health care services (+17,000) and hospitals (+9,000). Thus far in 2010, the health care industry has added an average of 20,000 jobs per month, about in line with the average monthly job growth in 2009.

Mining employment rose by 8,000 in August. Since a recent low in October 2009, employment in the industry has increased by 72,000. Support activities for mining has accounted for about three-fourths of the gain.

Manufacturing employment declined by 27,000 over the month. A decline in motor vehicles and parts (-22,000) offset a gain of similar magnitude in July as the industry departed somewhat from its usual layoff and recall pattern for annual retooling.

Within professional and business services, employment in temporary help services was up by 17,000. This industry has added 392,000 jobs since a recent employment low in September 2009.

Construction employment was up (+19,000) in August. This change partially reflected the return to payrolls of 10,000 workers who were on strike in July.

Employment in retail trade was about unchanged over the month. A job gain among motor vehicle and parts dealers (+8,000) was essentially offset by losses in building materials and garden supply stores (-6,000).

Employment in other private-sector industries, including wholesale trade, transportation and warehousing, information, financial activities, and leisure and hospitality, showed little change in August.”

-Bill at

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