Payrolls Increased, Unemployment Held Steady in August

Dianna Christensen
September 2, 2017

Brady's statement on Friday morning was a rare one from Republicans on the jobs report, as GOP lawmakers - who a year ago were quick to demand greater job creation from the Obama Administration - were mainly silent about the latest figures from the Trump Administration. It was the 83rd straight month of job gains.

The average hourly wage increased by $0.03 for August, up to $26.39, but is up only $0.65 for the past 12 months for a 2.5 percent increase overall.

Lewis Alexander, chief US economist at Nomura, said low productivity growth and other structural factors will hold down overall economic growth in a Friday research note. We're holding to our 2.02% 10-year yields with first line resistance at 2.086%.

Gus Faucher, chief economist at PNC Financial, predicts that job growth in the coming months "will weaken substantially" in the wake of Harvey, only to rebound quickly as workers who were temporarily laid off are rehired. Hourly pay increased 2.5% from August 2016 to August 2017, unchanged from the prior month.

Employment in business and professional services and health services had decent growth as well. But the Fed is still likely to start shrinking its balance sheet in September, says John Petrides of Point View Wealth Management.

Economists said that the employment report was "disappointing across the board" with the leisure and hospitality sectors showing an especially sharp slowdown in hiring.

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The jobs report, which is released by the Labor Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics, comes from two separate surveys.

Correction: An earlier version contained incorrect information on the payrolls and unemployment rate numbers. The labor force is growing at most by 100,000 per month, or half the growth in jobs.

The participation rate has tumbled from 66 percent over the past decade, but the decline reflects in part an aging US population that is retiring.

By industry, manufacturing payrolls topped expectations, rising by 36,000 in August, more than the 8,000 that was expected by economists. Among the losers were federal, state and local governments, which trimmed a total of 9,000 jobs. Retailers hired just 800 workers.

As for what all those workers are getting paid - wages remain in a "hold" pattern, with barely a gain seen all year.

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