The U.S. economy added 315,000 jobs in August, but the pace of hiring has slowed compared to the average gains over the past three months and is down sharply from July when employers added 526,000 employees, the federal government reported Friday.
Meanwhile, the national unemployment rate ticked upward by two-tenths of a percentage point in August to 3.7% as more people reported they were actively looking for work, according to the Employment Situation Report for August from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
In August, notable job gains occurred in professional and business services (+68,000), healthcare (+48,000) and retail trade (+44,000). Manufacturing employment continued to trend upward in August (+22,000), with most gains concentrated in durable goods industries (+19,000).
August marked the 20th straight month of job growth. Overall employment is now 240,000 jobs above pre-pandemic levels, with 5.8 million jobs added over the past 12 months. However, when broken down by industry, leisure and hospitality has 1.2 million fewer jobs than in February 2020, (-7.2%). Healthcare employment is short 37,000 jobs compared to February 2020 (-0.2%).
The labor force participation rate increased by 0.3 percentage point in August to 62.4% but remains 1.0 percentage point below its February 2020 level.
The average hourly earnings for all private-sector employees rose by 10 cents to $32.36 in August, the BLS said. Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings have increased 5.2%. The average workweek for all employees on private payrolls decreased by 0.1 hour to 34.5 hours.
The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for June was revised down by 105,000, from the preliminary estimate of +398,000 to +293,000, and the change for July was revised down by 2,000, from +528,000 to +526,000. With these revisions, employment in June and July combined is 107,000 lower than the BLS previously reported. Monthly revisions result from additional reports received from businesses and government agencies since the last published estimates.