Nonfarm payroll employment continued to decline in August (-216,000), and the unemployment rate rose to 9.7%, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported recently. Although job losses continued in many of the major industry sectors in August, the declines have moderated in recent months.
In August, the number of unemployed persons increased by 466,000 to 14.9 million, and the unemployment rate rose by 0.3 percentage points to 9.7%. The rate had been little changed in June and July, after increasing 0.4 or 0.5 percentage points in each month from December 2008 through May. Since the recession began in December 2007, the number of unemployed persons has risen by 7.4 million, and the unemployment rate has grown by 4.8 percentage points.
Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult men (10.1%), whites (8.9%), and Hispanics (13.0%) rose in August. The jobless rates for adult women (7.6%), teenagers (25.5%), and blacks (15.1%) were little changed over the month. The unemployment rate for Asians was 7.5%, not seasonally adjusted.
The civilian labor force participation rate remained at 65.5% in August. The employment-population ratio, at 59.2%, edged down over the month and has declined by 3.5 percentage points since the recession began in December 2007.
In August, the number of persons working part time for economic reasons was little changed at 9.1 million. These individuals indicated that they were working part time because their hours had been cut back or because they were unable to find a full-time job. The number of such workers rose sharply in the fall and winter but has been little changed since March.
About 2.3 million persons were marginally attached to the labor force in August, reflecting an increase of 630,000 from a year earlier. (The data are not seasonally adjusted.) These individuals were not in the labor force, wanted and were available for work, and had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months. They were not counted as unemployed because they had not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey.
Among the marginally attached, the number of discouraged workers in August (758,000) has nearly doubled over the past 12 months. (The data are not seasonally adjusted.) Discouraged workers are persons not currently looking for work because they believe no jobs are available for them. The other 1.5 million persons marginally attached to the labor force in August had not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey for reasons such as school attendance or family responsibilities.