The U.S. Employment Situation for August 2016

Since the analysis and comparison of recent statistical employment trends can assist us job-forcast-august-2016-blue-building-graphin forecasting what lays ahead for the country’s job seekers, employers, as well as the basic economy, here we will review employment conditions for August, 2016, as reported by Sterling National Bank.This article will contrast data gathered via Household Surveys against that of Establishment Surveys.

Initial Overview

The unemployment rate remained at 4.9 percent in August, while total payroll for nonfarm employment increased by 151,000, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.  Several service-providing industries saw a continued upward employment trend.

The following information is according to Household Survey Data.

Unchanged, was the number of unemployed individuals which remained at 7.8 million for August, as well as the 4.9 percent unemployment rate which has been consistent for the third consecutive month.

Adult men saw an unemployment rate of 4.5 percent, as did adult women; while teenagers were at 15.7 percent.  Among other major worker groups, Whites came in at 4.4 percent, Blacks at 8.1, and Asians saw a 4.2 percent unemployment rate.  Hispanics showed very little variation at 5.6 percent.

Individuals jobless for more than 27 weeks (long-term unemployed), who account for 26.1 percent of the total unemployment population, remained basically the same at 2.0 million for the month of August.

Also remaining unchanged was the population-employment ratio of 59.7 percent, and the labor force participation rate of 62.8 percent.

Individuals who would prefer full-time employment, but maintain part-time work due to economic reasons (involuntary part-time workers), saw little change at 6.1 million for the month of August.  Most involuntary part-time works have seen cut backs in hours or have been unable to find full-time employment.

Experiencing minor change since last year were workers marginally attached to the labor force, coming in at 1.7 million for August (data not seasonally adjusted).  These are individuals who sought employment within the past 12 months, and are ready, willing, and available to work.  However, they are not considered among the unemployed since they had not searched for a job within the four weeks prior to the survey.

August also saw 576,000 discouraged workers among the marginally attached, which had a slight fluctuation from earlier in 2016, although the data is not seasonally adjusted.  This group of unemployed has ceased looking for jobs because they believe there is no available employment.  The 1.1 million remaining marginally attached workers discontinued job searches due to family responsibilities or school attendance.

The following information is according to Establishment Survey Data.

Rising by 151,000 in August was the total rate of nonfarm payroll employment, compared with an average monthly increase of 204,000 during the past 12 months.  Also trending upward was employment in various industries of service.

Food services and drink establishments have seen an upward employment trend of 34,000 during the past month, and have also witnessed the addition of 312,000 jobs during this year.

Social assistance also experienced 22,000 new jobs during the month of August, with the greatest of expansion of 17,000 within family and individual services.

With a growth of 20,000, technical and professional services increased within approximate congruity to its monthly average gain of 24,000 during the 12 months prior.job-forcast-august-2016-women-at-work-on-laptop

Also continuing on an upward trend for the month of August, are jobs in financial activities with an increase of 15,000.  Commodity contracts, investments, and securities experienced an overall gain of 6,000, with the entire financial activity industry encountering the addition of 167,000 jobs.

Although at a slower interval than the average monthly growth of 39,000 over the 12 months prior, health care also trended up during August with the addition of 14,000 jobs.  Hospitals expanded their staffs by a total of 11,000, and ambulatory health care services added another 13,000 jobs in August.  However, this is following a decrease in residential care facilities and nursing, with 9,000 jobs lost during the month of July.

Continuing to trend downward was employment in mining with a decrease of 4,000 jobs.  Mining saw a peak in September 2014, however has since been on the decline, losing 223,000 jobs of mostly mining support activities.

Other industries, including, manufacturing, construction, wholesale and retail trade, warehousing and transportation, government, and temporary help services saw little change in employment during the month of August.

Individuals employed via private nonfarm payrolls witnessed a decrease in their hourly workweek of 0.1, leaving them with an average of 34.3 weekly hours for August.  Manufacturing employees saw their hourly workweek decline by 0.2, resulting in 40.6 hours per week, although overtime remained stable at 3.3 hours weekly.  Private non-farm employees in nonsupervisory and production positions also experienced a 0.1 decrease in hours, with an outcome of 33.6 weekly hours for the month of August.

Conversely, average hourly earnings for private nonfarm employees increased by 3 cents to $25.73.  Over the course of the year, average hourly earnings elevated by 2.4 percent.  During August, nonsupervisory and private-sector production employees experienced an increase of 4 cents, resulting in an average hourly wage of $21.64.

Nonfarm payroll employment for June experienced a downward revision of 21,000 leaving a total of 271,000 jobs, while July’s change was revised upward by 20,000, resulting in 275,000 jobs.  According to these revisions, the combined employment gains for June and July were 1,000 less than originally reported.  Overall employment has witnessed an average gain of 232,000 over the past 3 months.

The contrast and comparison of this data is essential in leading us to forming more reasonable estimations and accurate conclusions on the state of our country’s current employment economy.

By Fred Coon, CEO


Stewart, Cooper & Coon, has helped thousands of decision makers and senior executives move up in their careers and achieve significantly improved financial packages within short time frames. Contact Fred Coon – 866-883-4200, Ext. 200