S e p t e m b e r 6 , 2 0 1 3
U.S. EMPLOYERS HIRED
A TOTAL OF
WORKERS IN AUGUST
AVERAGE HOURLY EARNINGS
2.2% ABOVE LAST YEAR
THE UNEMPLOYMENT RATE
8.1% LAST AUGUST
MODEST, DECEPTIVE LABOR MARKET INDICATORS IN AUGUST
• Employment gains and a decreasing unemployment rate appear positive, but
underlying data suggest a less rosy labor market picture.
• Labor force participation is at its lowest point in 35 years, and the pace of
employment creation appears to have lost some momentum.
• The mediocre jobs report may raise some doubts about the health of the U.S. labor
market and economy, as policymakers consider scaling back stimulus efforts.
Employers added 169,000 jobs in August, a figure that at first glance seems to be decent, if somewhat shy of most economists’
expectations. Revisions to employment figures for the previous two months were surprisingly negative, however, showing job gains
that were a combined 74,000 less than previously reported. With the downward revisions, job creation since May has averaged
just 155,000 per month, a substantial slowdown compared to over 205,000 per month in the first four months of 2013.
Unemployment Rate (%)
Talent Market Monthly: September 6, 2013
The U.S. unemployment rate continues to inch lower, reaching
7.3%—but this improvement was largely a factor of a further
decrease in the labor force, rather than employment gains.
The labor force participation rate dropped to 63.2% in August,
a figure not seen since August 1978.
Job creation continues to be led by consumer-driven sectors.
Retail trade added 44,000 jobs in August, while employment in
accommodation and food services was up by 27,000. Nearly
33,000 health care jobs were added in the month, and
employment gains in professional and business services were
slower but still up by 23,000. Manufacturing job growth was
driven by the automotive industry, where employment rose
by 19,000 in August after layoff-related declines in July.
This month’s jobs report is expected to be a critical factor as
the Federal Reserve meets later in the month to decide on
tapering its asset purchase stimulus program. Although the
unemployment rate is edging closer to the Fed’s target, the
moderating pace of hiring and the underlying labor force
concerns may call into question whether the U.S. economy is
ready to stand on its own without the Fed’s intervention.
U.S. MONTHLY EMPLOYMENT CHANGE AND UNEMPLOYMENT RATE
Total non-farm employment growth
MAR APR MAY JUN JUL AUG
Total non-farm employment growth 142K 199K 176K 172K 104K 169K
Private sector employment growth 188K 157K 187K 194K 127K 152K
Unemployment rate 7.6% 7.5% 7.6% 7.6% 7.4% 7.3%
TIME OFF TRENDS
The past two decades have seen a shift in how U.S. employees are allotted time
off from work. American workers today are less likely to have paid vacation time,
but have seen their access to other forms of paid time off increase over the past
two decades, according to a recent report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Vacation time has become less common for workers overall, but employers who
offer it have become slightly more generous. The percentage of private industry
workers with access to paid vacation days has fallen from 82% in 1992-93 to 77%
in 2012-13. But workers who are covered by paid vacation plans are eligible for 2
more days per year on average now than they were twenty years ago.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
Other forms of paid time off have become much more prevalent. More than 60%
of U.S. workers now report having paid sick leave, compared to just half in
1992-93. Paid personal leave is available for 37% of workers today, up from 15%
twenty years ago. And although the number is still fairly small, 11% of U.S.
workers are now able to take some form of paid family leave, up from just 2%
two decades ago. In addition, more than a quarter of American workers are now
covered by consolidated leave plans, which provide a single bank of time off for
workers to use for any purpose.
Source: New York Times, 09/03/13; Beyond the Numbers, BLS, August 2013
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