U.S. Job Numbers Fall Way Short of Market’s Expectations
America’s employment situation slightly worsened in August. Fewer jobs were created during the month than the markets had expected, while joblessness went up.
The latest jobs report posted by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics showed that hiring slowed down in the month that just ended. About 156,000 new jobs were created in August, which fell short of the average of 176,000 jobs created per month this year.
Meanwhile, unemployment inched up from 4.3% in July to 4.4% in August. About 7.1 million Americans remained unemployed in August.
What’s more, the federal government also revised down its June and July job-creation figures by a net total of 41,000 jobs. June’s job numbers were revised down from more than 231,000 jobs to more than 210,000 jobs, while July’s employment numbers were cut down from more than 209,000 jobs to more than 189,000 jobs.
August’s increase in earnings also lagged behind expectations. Average hourly earnings for nonfarm employees only rose by $0.03 (to $26.39) in the month. Over the past 12 months, the average increase in hourly earnings was $0.65.
In August, American employees also saw their average workweek shrink by 0.1 hour in July to 34.4 hours in August.
In August, a noticeable slowdown in hiring was seen in the leisure and hospitality industry, while job creation also slowed in the healthcare sector. The government sector also recorded a decline in jobs for the second consecutive month.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics noted that the adverse impact of Hurricane Harvey could not be captured in the August report since data was collected before the storm hit. It’s safe to assume that next month’s jobs report may further disappoint observers once the natural disaster is accounted for.
The markets were eagerly awaiting the August job numbers to assess the Federal Reserve’s next monetary policy move. The disappointing jobs report means that an interest rate hike in September may no longer be in the cards.
“The Employment Situation — August 2017,” Bureau of Labor Statistics, September 1, 2017.