Hiring slowed in August as U.S. employers added 96,000 jobs, according to a report released this morning by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, with the gains falling far below projections.
Private-sector payrolls increased by 103,000, while government employment fell 7,000. BLS revisions of the previous two months’ employment reports noted 41,000 fewer jobs were created in June and July than previously thought.
The median estimate of more than 90 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News called for a gain of 130,000 jobs in August. The unemployment rate dropped to 8.1 percent from 8.3 percent in July as 368,000 Americans left the labor force, according to BLS data.
Notably, the labor force participation rate hit its lowest level since September 1981, according to IHS Global Insight.
The unemployment rate is at its lowest point since April, and is a full percentage point below the 9.1 percent rate in August 2011. BLS calculates hiring numbers and the unemployment rate from two separate surveys.
Industries posting increases included finance, professional services, health care and hospitality. The manufacturing sector shed 15,000 jobs.
The number of long-term unemployed – those jobless for 27 weeks or more – was flat at about five million people, accounting for 40 percent of the unemployed. Also little changed was the number of “involuntary” part-time workers, those who have seen their hours cut or otherwise cannot find full-time work, with eight million people falling into that classification.
Another 2.6 million people are out of work who are not counted among the labor force , due to the fact that four weeks have elapsed during which they have not actively sought work, whether due to general discouragement or other factors such as school or family responsibilities.