The U.S. economy gained 1.4 million jobs in August, and the unemployment rate declined to 8.4%, according to figures released Friday morning by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The improvements reflect the continued resumption of economic activity that previously was curtailed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In response to the August job numbers, AFL-CIO Chief Economist William Spriggs tweeted:
Payroll employment was up 1.4 million in August and the unemployment rate fell to 8.4% in August in today's @BLS_gov report. This report shows that trends in labor force participation did not spike up from dropping the $600 in additional unemployment insurance. @AFLCIO— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) September 4, 2020
The @BLS_gov numbers for June and July were adjusted downward in this August release of the Employment Situation. June was down 10,000 and July 29,000 from before for a total of 39,000 less than previously reported. @AFLCIO— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) September 4, 2020
With hours down, average weekly pay looms large in the monthly Employment Situation report from @BLS_gov . Hours edged up in August, so weekly pay edged up from July from $1,012.92 to $1,019.66 after falling since May. This is not adjusting for inflation. @AFLCIO— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) September 4, 2020
The unemployment rate improved for all levels of educational attainment. For those who were high school dropouts, the rate is down to 12.6% below its peak of 21.2% in April. Notice that rate of 12.6% is lower than the THE Black unemployment rate of 13.0% @AFLCIO @rolandsmartin pic.twitter.com/ERD63fNH04— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) September 4, 2020
Unemployment rates fell for all categories and types of workers in August. Significantly, it fell for women maintaining families, from 12.4 to 10.4%; and for part-time workers from 12.6 to 9.0%. These workers makeup a large share of the hardest hit industries.@AFLCIO @IWPResearch— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) September 4, 2020
And here is the second part of the bad news, the increase in the number of workers struggling with longer spells of unemployment. The increases in those unemployed longer than 15 weeks, especially the long term unemployed (over 26 weeks) at 1.6 million, is hard to clear. @AFLCIO pic.twitter.com/GnFxEcU31I— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) September 4, 2020
The increasing duration of unemployment creates a problem of scarring for those workers: it's harder to re-attach to the labor market. The long term unemployed suffer huge losses in their household balance sheet. Dropping the $600 in UI supplement looks cruel. @AFLCIO— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) September 4, 2020
For further context on the August #JobsReport, the US unemployment rate is far higher than for the major economies. The @OECD shows in July how US unemployment was much higher than for the EU or Japan. While the US labor market is improving, we have made some clear errors. AFLCIO pic.twitter.com/r2BgBpybXy— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) September 4, 2020
And, again, on unemployment duration in the August #JobsReport the large ,number of workers unemployed 15-26 weeks (above Great Recession levels) and transitioning to 26 weeks or more (now on a path like the start of the Great Recession, are big issues ahead. @AFLCIO pic.twitter.com/cvmGOiEQtI— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) September 4, 2020
Last month's biggest job gains were in government (344,000), retail trade (249,000), professional and business services (197,000), leisure and hospitality (174,000), education and health services (147,000), transportation and warehousing (78,000), other services (74,000), financial activities (36,000), manufacturing (29,000), and wholesale trade (14,000). Employment changed little in mining, construction and information in August.
In August, the unemployment rates declined for teenagers (16.1%), Black Americans (13.0%), Hispanics (10.5%), Asians (10.7%), adult women (8.4%), adult men (8.0%) and White Americans (7.3%).
The number of long-term unemployed workers (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) rose in August.