Another 173,000 jobs were added by employers in August, including 3,100 in accounting and bookkeeping services, sending the unemployment rate down two-tenths of a point to 5.1 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday.
The private sector added 140,000 jobs last month, with another 33,000 in the public sector. The job gains mainly occurred in health care and social assistance and in financial activities. However, the manufacturing and mining industries lost jobs.
“Today we learned that private-sector employment rose by 140,000 in August, below the recent pace,” wrote Jason Furman, chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisors, in a blog post on the White House website. “Despite the monthly volatility in employment growth, long-term trends remain strong. The unemployment rate declined to 5.1 percent, its lowest level since early 2008, while the labor force participation rate remained stable. Wages continued to rise, with average hourly earnings for all private-sector workers up 2.2 percent over the past year.”
In August, financial activities employment increased by 19,000, with 8,000 jobs gained in real estate and 5,000 in securities, commodity contracts and investments. Over the course of the year, employment in financial activities has grown by 170,000.
Employment in professional and business services, which includes accounting and bookkeeping along with other services, continued to trend up in August, adding 33,000 jobs, and has increased by 641,000 over the course of the year.
"In this candidate-driven market, job seekers are calling the shots in what they’re looking for in a job, which is a big contrast to a few years ago," said Jodi Chavez, senior vice president of the staffing company Accounting Principals. "Employers looking for candidates can’t continue on the same hiring process they’ve had in the past. Decisions and choices need to be quick before their candidates decide to go elsewhere. The financial and accounting fields keep hiring and many of our clients tell us they can’t hire fast enough. Employment in financial activities has risen by 170,000 over the past 12 months and salaries are on the rise as well, according to our 2016 Salary Guide, which will be coming out next Tuesday."
The BLS also revised upward the change in total nonfarm payroll employment for June from 231,000 to 245,000, and the change for July was revised from 215,000 to 245,000. With these revisions, employment gains in June and July combined were 44,000 more than previously reported. Over the past three months, job gains have averaged 221,000 per month.
"It's good more people are finding work, but this report is not all that encouraging,” said House Ways and Means Committee chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., in a statement. “Millions of people are still out of the workforce, and paychecks are growing too slowly for families to get ahead. There’s simply not enough opportunity to go around. That’s why we’ve got to keep working to fix our tax code and expand American exports. We need more people to invest and create good-paying jobs right here in America. Only then will we see the broad, sustained economic growth we need.”
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