The employment situation in America isn’t getting any better, revealed the Labor Department’s August Employment Situation report. The unemployment rate held steady at 9.1% and there was no significant change in nonfarm payroll employment. Keep in mind that about 150,000 jobs need to be added per month to keep pace with population growth, so no job growth means the employment situation actually got worse. This article will cover relevant statistics on the U.S. employment situation.
How many U.S. residents were out of work in August?
In August, 14 million people were unemployed, about the same number as in July. The size of the labor force increased to 153.6 million people, up slightly from 153.2 million in July.
How many people wanted to work, but weren’t looking for jobs?
In August, there were 2.6 million of these individuals, who are known as “marginally attached to the workforce.” This was a small decrease from the 2.8 million marginally attached workers in July. However, it represented an increase from the 2.4 million marginally attached workers around at this time last year.
Out of these 2.6 million marginally attached people, 977,000 were “discouraged workers.” These people gave up the job hunt because they believed the job market was too unfavorable, thought their education and training were insufficient, or feared discrimination from employers. There were slightly fewer discouraged workers in August than in July – July had 1.1 million discouraged workers.
Why was there zero job growth?
Well, there was zero net job growth. Health care employment did increase by 30,000 in August. Ambulatory health care services added 18,000 positions, while hospitals added 8,000. This continued a long increase in health care employment, with 306,000 positions added in the past year alone.
This was no surprise, considering health care jobs have long been considered almost “recession-proof.” According to a recent study by the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, college graduates with a Bachelor’s degree in health-related fields were more likely to be employed than other graduates. An impressive 98% of graduates with health care degrees surveyed were employed either full-time or part-time, not counting those with advanced degrees.
Mining also added 6,000 positions, continuing an upward trend. Since October of 2008, mining has added 144,000 jobs, most of which have been related to mining support activities.
What are mining support activities? According to the North American Industry Classification System, mining support activities include exploration, other than geophysical surveying, and other mining-related services performed on a contract or fee basis.
However, these gains were offset by job losses in the information industry and government. In August, the information industry lost 48,000 jobs. Around 45,000 workers in the telecommunications industry were on strike, which meant they were off company payrolls during the survey reference period.
The culprit was the Verizon strike, which was the result of tensions between the company and union members over pensions, healthcare policies, and company rules. The strike began on August 7th and included 45,000 employees in Verizon’s U.S. Northeast wireline unit. This unit provided landline phone services, plus high-speed Internet and FiOS television services. On August 20th, the workers agreed to return to their positions, beginning the night of the 22nd, working under the terms of their former contract. Verizon agreed to continue negotiations.
The loss of 17,000 government jobs, however, was part of a longer-term decline in government employment. Although 22,000 Minnesota employees returned from a partial state government shutdown, state government employment only increased by 5,000. Local government employment declined again. Since September of 2008, local government jobs have declined by 550,000.
Did the unemployment rate for any of the major demographic groups change?
The unemployment rate for adult men dropped slightly, from 9.0% in July to 8.9% in August. For women, the unemployment rate stayed at 8.0%. The unemployment rate for Hispanic people also remained at 11.3%.
The unemployment rate for white people dropped slightly, from 8.1% in July to 8.0% in August. However, the unemployment rate for black people rose somewhat, from 15.9% in July to 16.7% in August. The jobless rate for Asians was 7.1%.
Teenagers experienced a small rise in unemployment, from 25% in July to 25.4% in August.
Was there any good news?
Not exactly. We at least didn’t lose jobs overall—that could be considered good.
However, one of the saddest things about the August Employment Situation report is that it actually retroactively lowered the job creation estimates for June and July. While the June Employment Situation report said 46,000 jobs had been created, this was revised to just 20,000. Additionally, while the July Employment Situation report estimated that 117,000 new positions had been created, the current number is now only 85,000. So, not only was August bleak, but June and July were worse than we thought, too.
The bottom line…
This was honestly a depressing Employment Situation report. However, as a job seeker, it is up to you to not only cultivate a great resume, but a great mental attitude. You must be willing to network, hunt for new opportunities daily, and work to improve yourself as a future employee. The employment situation will improve eventually. In the meantime, the best thing to do is focus on improving yourself.