Commissioner's Statement on The Employment Situation

Advance copies of this statement are made available to the press
under lock-up conditions with the explicit understanding that the
data are embargoed until 8:30 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time.

                                       
                          Statement of
       
                      William J. Wiatrowski
                       Acting Commissioner
                   Bureau of Labor Statistics

                    Friday, September 1, 2017


      Nonfarm payroll employment increased by 156,000 in August, 
and the unemployment rate was little changed at 4.4 percent. Job 
gains occurred in manufacturing, construction, professional and 
technical services, health care, and mining. Employment growth 
has averaged 176,000 per month thus far this year, about in line 
with the average monthly gain of 187,000 in 2016. 
      
      Before turning to the details of this month's report, it is 
important to note that Hurricane Harvey had no discernable 
effect on the employment and unemployment data for August. 
Household survey data collection was completed before the storm. 
Establishment survey data collection for this report was largely 
completed prior to the storm, and collection rates were within 
normal ranges nationally and for the affected areas.
      
	In August, employment in manufacturing increased by 36,000. 
The industry has added 155,000 jobs since a recent low in 
November 2016. Motor vehicles and parts (+14,000), fabricated 
metal products (+5,000), and computer and electronic products 
(+4,000) added jobs in August. 

      Construction employment rose by 28,000 in August, following 
little change over the previous 5 months. In August, employment 
edged up among residential specialty trade contractors 
(+12,000).
      
      Employment in professional and technical services continued 
to trend up in August (+22,000), in line with the average 
monthly gain over the prior 12 months. 
      
      Employment in health care also continued to trend up in 
August (+20,000). Within the industry, hospital employment edged 
up (+6,000). Over the past year, health care has added 328,000 
jobs. 
      
      In August, employment in mining rose by 7,000, with all of 
the job growth in support activities for mining. Mining has 
added 62,000 jobs since a recent employment low in October 2016.
      
      Employment in food services and drinking places changed 
little in August (+9,000), following an increase of 53,000 in 
July. Over the year, employment in the industry has risen by 
283,000.
      
      Employment in other major industries--wholesale trade, 
retail trade, transportation and warehousing, information, 
financial activities, and government--showed little change over 
the month.
      
      Average hourly earnings of all employees on private nonfarm 
payrolls increased by 3 cents to $26.39 in August. Over the past 
12 months, average hourly earnings have risen by 2.5 percent. 
From July 2016 to July 2017, the Consumer Price Index for All 
Urban Consumers (CPI-U) increased by 1.7 percent (on a 
seasonally adjusted basis).
      
      Major labor market indicators from the survey of households 
changed little in August. Both the number of unemployed people, 
at 7.1 million, and the unemployment rate, at 4.4 percent, 
changed little over the month. After declining earlier in the 
year, the unemployment rate has been either 4.3 or 4.4 percent 
since April.
      
      In August, 1.7 million unemployed people had been searching 
for work for 27 weeks or longer, accounting for 24.7 percent of 
the unemployed. 
      
      The labor force participation rate, at 62.9 percent, was 
unchanged over the month and has shown no clear trend thus far 
this year. The employment-population ratio, at 60.1 percent in 
August, changed little over the month and has held fairly steady 
thus far this year. 
      
      In August, the number of people working part time for 
economic reasons, also referred to as involuntary part-time 
workers, was about unchanged at 5.3 million. 
      
      Among those neither working nor looking for work in August, 
1.5 million people were marginally attached to the labor force, 
little different from the prior year. Discouraged workers, a 
subset of the marginally attached who believed that no jobs were 
available for them, numbered 448,000 in August, down by 128,000 
from a year earlier. (People who were marginally attached to the 
labor force had not looked for work in the 4 weeks prior to the 
survey but wanted a job, were available for work, and had looked 
for a job within the last 12 months.)
      
      In summary, nonfarm payroll employment increased by 156,000 
in August, and the unemployment rate was little changed at 4.4 
percent. 



The PDF version of the news release

Table of Contents

Last Modified Date: September 01, 2017