Friday, September 3, 2010

U.S. Unemployment Situation Essentially Unchanged in August

The monthly employment situation press release from the Bureau of Labor Statistics this morning shows little movement from July to August. The number of unemployed persons (14.9 million) was essentially unchanged for the month. The U.S. unemployment rate was also essentially unchanged at 9.6 percent in August, from 9.5 percent in July. Since May, the jobless rate has remained between 9.5 percent and 9.7 percent.

Total nonfarm payroll employment dropped by 54,000 nationwide, largely due to continuing government employment reductions as the decennial census winds down. Private-sector employment did see modest job gains (+67,000) for the month.

After a healthy dose of "essentially unchanged," we started searching for some numbers with substantial movement in the BLS release. Here's a summary of what we found:
  • Since its most recent low in December 2009, private-sector employment has risen by 763,000.
  • The number of long-term unemployed (jobless for 27 weeks or more) declined by 323,000 over the month.
  • The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons - or involuntary part-time workers - increased by 331,000 over the month.
  • There were 1.1 million discouraged workers nationwide in August, an increase of 352,000 over the previous year.
Get more details, including employment changes by industry, average hourly earnings, and unemployment rates for various worker groups in the full press release. (

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