The economy added another 151,000 jobs in August, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday, although the unemployment rate remained unchanged for the third consecutive month at 4.9 percent.
The number of unemployed persons also stayed unchanged at 7.8 million in August for the third month in a row. Employment continued to rise in several service industries, such as professional and technical services, which added 20,000 jobs. That included 700 jobs added in accounting and bookkeeping services.
Financial activities employment also trended upward in August, with 15,000 jobs added, particularly with a gain of 6,000 jobs in securities, commodity contracts, and investments. Over the past year, the financial activities sector has added 167,000 jobs.
“What we are seeing, which mirrors what the analysts are seeing, is more demand for positions like financial analysts, financial planners, and especially accountants, auditors and tax professionals,” said Kim Gottschalk, senior regional vice president at the staffing company Accounting Principals.
She pointed out that firms like KPMG have needed to shorten their interview process to ensure they can recruit millennials who are impatient with protracted interviews.
The BLS reported average hourly earnings rose in August by 3 cents to $25.73. Over the course of the year, average hourly earnings have increased 2.4 percent.
The June job numbers were revised downward from a gain of 292,000 jobs to 271,000 jobs, while the July job numbers were revised upwards from a gain of 255,000 jobs to 275,000 jobs.
However, there were some signs of possible headwinds, when Walmart said Thursday it would eliminate approximately 7,000 back-office accounting and invoicing positions at its stores by automating them. However, Gottschalk said she has not seen a wider trend at other companies.
“I’m not seeing signs of that personally,” she said. “We’re seeing good news coming out of retail.”
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