August Shows Strong Job Growth and Wage Gains

September 7, 2018

The U.S. workforce added 201,000 jobs last month, surging past economist estimates of 191,000. Average hourly earnings jumped by 2.9 percent for the month on an annualized basis, above the 2.7 percent that had been expected. This marks the highest wage growth since 2009.

The unemployment rate remained unchanged at 3.9 percent, but a broader measure of unemployment, which includes people who want to work but have given up looking for full-time employment, fell one-tenth of a percent to 7.4 percent. This is the lowest level since April 2001.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics also revised down the job counts for the previous two months by 50,000—from 248,000 to 208,000 in June and from 157,000 to 147,000 in July. In spite of these lower than initially thought numbers, the U.S. workforce has still added an impressive monthly average of 196,000 jobs over the last 12 months.

The largest sector in August’s job gains came from professional and business services, which added 53,000. Heath care jobs also grew by 33,000, wholesale trade rose by 22,000, and transportation and warehousing contributed 20,000 to the total.

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