Friday, September 2, 2011

Unemployed Down Slightly Except for Government Employees

Nonfarm payroll employment was unchanged (0) in August, and the unemployment rate held at 9.1 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today.

Across the board, employment either climbed fractionally or stayed the same, while the trend of a decline in government employees, not a bad thing for the economy.

Health care continued to add jobs, and a decline in information employment reflected a strike.

The number of unemployed persons, at 14.0 million, was essentially unchanged in August, and the unemployment rate held at 9.1 percent. The rate has shown little change since April.

Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult men (8.9
percent), adult women (8.0 percent), teenagers (25.4 percent), whites
(8.0 percent), blacks (16.7 percent), and Hispanics (11.3 percent) showed
little or no change in August. The jobless rate for Asians was 7.1 percent, not seasonally adjusted.

The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks and over) was about unchanged at 6.0 million in August and accounted for 42.9 percent of the unemployed.

The labor force rose to 153.6 million in August. Both the civilian labor force participation rate, at 64.0 percent, and the employment-population ratio, at 58.2 percent, were little changed.

The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons (sometimes
referred to as involuntary part-time workers) rose from 8.4 million to 8.8
million in August. These individuals were working part time because their
hours had been cut back or because they were unable to find a full-time job.

About 2.6 million persons were marginally attached to the labor force in
August, up from 2.4 million a year earlier. (The data are not seasonally
adjusted.) These individuals were not in the labor force, wanted and were
available for work, and had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months. They were not counted as unemployed because they had not searched for work the 4 weeks preceding the survey.

Among the marginally attached, there were 977,000 discouraged workers in
August, down by 133,000 from a year earlier. (The data are not seasonally
adjusted.) Discouraged workers are persons not currently looking for work
because they believe no jobs are available for them. The remaining 1.6
million persons marginally attached to the labor force in August had not
searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey for reasons such as
school attendance or family responsibilities.

Establishment Survey Data

Total nonfarm payroll employment, at 131.1 million, was unchanged (0) in
August. Employment changed little in most major private-sector industries.

Health care employment rose by 30,000 in August. Ambulatory health care
services and hospitals added 18,000 and 8,000 jobs, respectively. Over the
past 12 months, health care employment has grown by 306,000.

Employment in mining continued to trend up in August (+6,000). Since reaching a trough in October 2009, employment in mining has risen by 144,000, with mining support activities accounting for most of the gain.

Within professional and business services, computer systems design and related services added 8,000 jobs in August. Employment in temporary help services changed little over the month (+5,000) and has shown little movement on net so far this year.

Employment in the information industry declined by 48,000 in August. About
45,000 workers in the telecommunications industry were on strike and thus off company payrolls during the survey reference period.

Manufacturing employment was essentially unchanged in August (-3,000),
following a gain of 36,000 in July. For the past 4 months, manufacturing has added an average of 14,000 jobs per month, compared with an average of 35,000 jobs per month in the first 4 months of the year.

Elsewhere in the private sector, employment in construction; trade,
transportation, and utilities; financial activities; and leisure and
hospitality changed little over the month.

Government employment continued to trend down over the month (-17,000).
Despite the return of about 22,000 workers from a partial government shutdown in Minnesota, employment in state government changed little in August (+5,000).Employment in local government continued to decline. Since employment peaked in September 2008, local government has lost 550,000 jobs.

Bottom line, the increases in unemployment are coming from state and local governments. This is the tail end part of the employment picture, where declining tax revenues from earlier in the year continue to force layoffs by state and local governments.

Despite all the talk you will hear about a double dip recession etc., the unemployment picture (a lagging indicator) in the private sector is stabilized. Of alarm, is the continuing climb of jobs in the mining sector, a certain sign of anticipated higher prices from entrepreneurs in that sector.


  1. Extrapolating out the last sentence, the continued increase in health/medicine related jobs would also indicate an expectation of higher prices as well.

    Not a good sign. For the average joe.

  2. Is that why medical insurance is going up 80%? To pay for these government-created/protected freeloaders in the medical field?

    Why do the pop-culture twits call it "Health Care"? shouldn't it really be "Medical Care"?

  3. Not so sure the numbers (govt sector aside) warrant an optimistic reading.

    Manufacturing, retail and construction were all negative with a declining trend line (going from memory, don't have the chart in front of me at the moment).

    Hours worked and compensation were also reported to have declined.

    I'm keeping my pom poms in the box for now.