Job Market Update: August 2017

What's the latest with the unemployment rate? We've got the details and the takeaways.

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Jobs Added

156,000

  • Construction

    28,000

  • Manufacturing

    36,000

  • Mining

    7,000

  • Professional & Business Services

    40,000

  • Education & Health Services

    25,000

  • Transportation & Warehousing

    1,900

  • Finance

    10,000

  • Leisure and Hospitality

    4,000

5 Things to know about August’s job report

In August, the unemployment rate edged up slightly to 4.4%, with only 156,000 jobs added.  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Hurricane Harvey – which devastated much of Texas early this week – had no significant effect on the employment and unemployment data for the month of August.

As the state recovers from the storm in September, only time will tell how significantly the labor landscape will be affected. According to a New York Times article from this week, we can expect to see it’s impact most in production and supply lines and home insurance policies, but that the rebuilding costs needed could create a surge in economic output – particularly in the construction industry.

Here are 5 other things you need to know about August’s job report:

    1. July’s job gain was revised from 209,000 down to 189,000, meaning August’s job report is currently averaged at 33,000 less jobs than July.
    2. Professional and business services – things like legal, bookkeeping and architectural and engineering services – gained the most jobs in August, accounting for 26% of the month’s job growth.
    3. The manufacturing industry added a healthy 36,000 jobs to the economy in August, jobs such as operating machinery, transportation equipment and food manufacturing.
    4. Wage increases continued to remain below what they should be for where our economic health currently stands. When the unemployment rate is this low, pay rates typically rise 3.5 – 4%, however August average hourly earnings only rose .1% since July, and only 2.5% since August of last year. With the holidays and seasonal work fast approaching, companies will find it difficult to find the talent they need, in part because so many people are currently employed, but also due to wage offerings being too low to be attractive.
    5. An estimated 7.1 Million people were still without jobs in August. Though the low-unemployment rate may signal to jobseekers that most jobs are taken, the opposite is actually true. As the economy continues to remain healthy, more jobs are being created, and qualified workers are hard to find. If you’re looking for work, or considering a career switch, now is the time to act.

Job Growth by Industry

July 2017

Unemployment Rate

  • Unemployment Rate

    4.4%

  • Change from Last Month

    +0.1%

In Your Region

July 2017

So what’s going on specifically in your region of the country? We broke it down for you (a reminder that the state unemployment report released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics is released 1 month after the national unemployment report – so for this section, we’re talking about the month of July.)

The Midwest had the lowest unemployment rate at 3.5%, while the South had the highest at 4.5%.

West

West

  • Unemployment Rate

    4.3%

  • Change from Last Month

    +.2%

Lowest and highest unemployment rates

Colorado (2.4%) / Alaska (7.0%)

Midwest

Midwest

  • Unemployment Rate

    3.5%

  • Change from Last Month

    -0.2%

Lowest and highest unemployment rates

North Dakota (2.2%) / Ohio (5.2%)

Northeast

Northeast

  • Unemployment Rate

    4.2%

  • Change from Last Month

    Flat

Lowest and highest unemployment rates

New Hampshire (2.8%) / Pennsylvania and Connecticut (5%)

West

South

  • Unemployment Rate

    4.5%

  • Change from Last Month

    -0.4%

Lowest and highest unemployment rates

Arkansas (3.4%) / District of Columbia (6.4%)

Why This is So Important

If you’re looking for work, now is the perfect time to explore your options. Because unemployment is low – and so many other people currently have jobs – you may see companies offering added benefits in order to attract job seekers, with things like wage increases or paid time off. Professional services, manufacturing jobs and the health care industry are all great professions to explore right now.  

You should also consider seasonal jobs– many of which end up offering permanent positions following the holidays. During an interview, make sure to bring up the possibility of turning a seasonal job into a permanent one.

If you’re a company worried about the impact the low unemployment rate may have on your ability to find the talent you need – especially as we head into the holiday season – we’ve got the network of people you’re looking for. Contact us today to learn how we can help.