Job Market Update: August 2016

Once again healthcare and business and technical services support a large portion of increases. Other industries with large contribution include food services, drinking places and finance.


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August is yet another month of steady employment growth. Although not quite as significant as July’s numbers, 151,000 non-farm jobs were added last month. For the third month in a row, the unemployment rate has stayed at 4.9%. As economic indicators go, this one underscores the health of the current employment situation. Once again healthcare and business and technical services support a large portion of increases. Other industries with large contribution include food services, drinking places and finance.

The average hourly earnings is up 3 cents from $25.69 to $25.73. Over the year, average earnings have increased by 2.4%.

Significant revisions were made over the course of the month. June’s employment growth projections were revised from +292,000 to +271,000. July’s numbers increased from +255,000 to +275,000. The changes very nearly cancel each other out. All told, there is a difference of -1,000 jobs.

In Your Industry

June and July brought impressive job growth, adding over 200,000 jobs per month; averaging 232,000. Comparatively, August growth was moderate but still trending positively. Most industries experienced weak to moderate growth in August. Mining continues to decline, losing another 4,000 jobs.

Construction suffered losses in August (-6,000) that chip away at gains in July. Many subsectors downsized. The only subsectors to experience gains were residential building (+4,700) and residential specialty trade contracting (+6,100). It appears that commercial construction slowed in August, while residential work grew.

Manufacturing also experienced losses that offset growth in July, losing 14,000 jobs in August. Nearly all of the durable goods subsectors that downsized. Not a single subsector in the industry added more then 500 jobs over the month. Transportation equipment  (-6,400) and Primary Metals (-2,500) represent the industries largest decreases.

Retail trade grew moderately, adding 15,100 jobs in July. Nearly every subsector experienced some growth. Motor vehicle and parts dealers  (+4,100), Building material and garden supply stores (+7,600), Food and beverage stores (+4,800) and other general merchandise stores (+4,700) added the most jobs in August. That growth offset small losses in several subsectors including health and personal care stores (-1,300), gas stations (-1,000), clothing stores (-1,800), department stores (-2,800) and miscellaneous retailers (-2,700) all downsized.

Transportation and warehousing added 14,900 jobs in August. Top contributors to growth include warehousing and storage (+4,300), couriers and messenger (+4,000), Transit and ground passenger transportation (+2,200), Truck transportation (+3,400) and air transportation (+2,000). It appears that Americans travel and courier needs increased during the month on August. Only a couple of subsectors lost employment opportunities.

Professional and business services continued it’s steady growth streak, adding 22,000 new positions. Most sectors grew in August. However, losses in the employment services industry (-11,900) significantly impacted potential growth. Scientific research and development services as well as Management and technical consulting services added 7,300 and 6,100 respectively, balancing the employment services industry.

Education and health services increased by 39,000. Most of that growth occurred in Health care and social assistance. Ambulatory services added 12,900 new jobs while Hospital added 10,700. Surprisingly, nursing and residential care facilities downsized by -9,200 positions. This year, social assistance’s growth has rarely exceed Healthcare. That trend was bucked in August. Social assistance added 21,700 jobs in August, the bulk of the growth occurred within the individual and family services division.

Hospital added 10,700 jobs in August.

Leisure and hospitality saw an expansion of 29,000 jobs in August. Accommodation and food services added the most positions, up 28,700. All gains occurred in food services (34,000), as accommodation was down (-5,300).

Temporary help services is down by 3,100 positions.

In Your Region

Unemployment rates increased significantly in 7 states, decreased in 3 and remained the same in 40 and the District of Columbia. When compared to the previous year, 10 states and the District of Columbia have seen an increase in employment. Three states saw employment decreases while 37 had no significant change.

The joblessness rate was unchanged month over month but down 0.4 percentage points when compared to July of 2015. Over the month of July the West (5.3%) had an unemployment rate considered significantly higher than the national average. The Midwest (4.5%) had a rate that was significantly lower.

Again, following the trend, The West North Central region has the lowest unemployment rate, at 3.9%. The Pacific region had the highest rate, 5.4%. South Dakota (2.8%) and New Hampshire (2.9%) had the lowest jobless rates in July. Though they are the lowest, both rates are higher than they were in June. Alaska had the highest joblessness rate at 6.7%.

Check out these key regional highlights from the BLS “Regional and State Employment and Unemployment –July 2016" report.


The Mid-Atlantic region experienced almost no change. For the fourth month in a row, the Mid-Atlantic region’s unemployment rate is 5%. New York’s unemployment is also holding steady month-over-month at 4.7%. New Jersey’s increased another .1% from 5.1% to 5.2%. Again, Pennsylvania is the highest with 5.6% percent


The Midwest’s joblessnes rate decreased from 4.7% to 4.5% and was significantly below July’s national average. Illinois unemployment rate fell significantly, moving from 6.2 to 5.8% over the month. Despite that sharp decrease, Illinois still have the highest unemployment rate in the region.

North Dakota (3.1%), South Dakota (2.8%), Nebraska (3.1%) and Minnesota (3.9) all have unemployment rates at or below 4.0%. Iowa (4.1), Wisconsin (4.2%) and Kansas (4.1%) Michigan (4.5%) and Missouri (4.7%) have rates lower the national average. The Detroit metro area’s unemployment is falling, going from 5.1% to 4.9%. Illinois, Indiana and Ohio continue to balance the extremely low rates of other Midwestern states.


The New England region’s unemployment rate fell slightly to 4.3%. Vermont (3.2%), New Hampshire (2.9%), Maine (3.9%) and Massachusetts (4.1%) have extremely low unemployment rates. To counter low unemployment in most of the region, Connecticut (5.7%) and Rhode Island (5.5%) both have unemployment rates well above the national average of 4.9%.


The South’s unemployment rate held at 4.7% month-over-month. In July, the West South Central (4.7%) and South Atlantic region’s (4.6%) both had unemployment rates lower than the national average at 4.9%. The East South Central region’s (5.0%) is slightly higher. Texas (4.3%), Arkansas (3.9%), Virginia (3.7%) and Tennessee (4.3%) have the lowest unemployment rates of the region.


The West continues to have the highest unemployment rate of any region in the country at 5.3%. Colorado continued to experience a rise in the employment rate over the month of July up from 3.7% to 3.8%. While Washington (5.8%), Nevada (6.5%), Wyoming (5.7%), Arizona (6.0%) and New Mexico (6.4%) have some of the highest and are well above the national average.

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