Unemployment rises slightly in August

Unemployment rose slightly and the pace of job growth slowed in August.

Unemployment ticked up to 3.8 percent from 3.5 percent in July, according to the new report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The report noted the number of unemployed persons increased by 514,000 to 6.4 million.

“Both measures are little different from a year earlier, when the unemployment rate was 3.7 percent and the number of unemployed persons was 6.0 million,” the BLS reported.

The labor participation rate increased by 0.2 percent to 62.8 percent.

The 187,000 jobs added were down from the annual growth in the past year of 271,000.

The jobs report was the second since the Federal Reserve’s latest rate hike to curb inflation in July. The Federal Open Market Committee is slated to meet Sept. 19-20 to look at the economy and decide on the federal target rate, which is currently 5.25 to 5.5.

After July’s meeting, Federal Reserve Chief Jerome Powell said the FOMC remains committed to getting inflation down to 2 percent and would be looking at the two jobs reports and consumer price index reports to decide on rates.

“We’re going to look at the data, and that could mean another hike in September, or we could decide to maintain at that level,” Powell said.

The healthcare industry added 71,000 jobs. The leisure and hospitality sector increased employment by 40,000. Social assistance jobs surged by 26,000 jobs and construction by 22,000.

Transportation and warehousing employment dropped by 34,000. Information employment also fell by 15,000 jobs.

The average earnings increased in August by 8 cents to $33.82 per hour. Pay is up 4.3 percent in the past year.

The average workweek increased to 34.4 hours.

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