While August Report Disappointed Overall, Pain Was Not Evenly Distributed
Several industries in the United States bore the brunt of job cuts in the August jobs report, which overall underwhelmed and was worse than expected.
While jobs were created for the 83rd month in a row, the longest streak in the nation’s history, unemployment grew to 4.4% and some industries were hit hard in terms of job cuts.
The logging industry was among one of the hardest hit, with a 1.62% decline and 800 jobs being lost in August. Among the other bottom-five performing industries in the report were scenic and sightseeing transportation (down 1.66%, losing 600 jobs), apparel manufacturing (down 1.82%, losing 2,200 jobs), performing arts and spectator sports (down 1.94%, losing 9,000 jobs), and specialized design services (down 2.04%, losing 2,300 jobs).
These types of numbers show that the rewards of the economy are not being distributed evenly, despite Wall Street showing strong numbers at times in 2017. At the moment, many of the country’s poorest workers are suffering as retail jobs, service jobs, and other low-education work is being reduced through outsourcing, automation, and cutbacks.
While other sectors like information technology and other high-skilled work grows, many in the U.S. are being left behind by a changing economy. Looking at the August numbers, many of the jobs that were lost were in lower-skilled and blue-collar work, while computer and information-based industries continued to see a rise.
This is further complicating the story of two Americas, in which the country is seeing itself split along the lines of coastal and large urban centers versus rural and smaller towns. The U.S. economy, it seems, is pushing more toward an urban future, which is likely unaffordable for low-income workers, due to extreme housing prices and a deficit in their educations.
While the Trump administration has made it a priority to push for more blue-collar work like coal mining and manufacturing jobs, the current outlook is not particularly positive, as the economy shows signs of lurching further and further away from that type of work.
“The Jobs Numbers: Who’s Hiring in America—and Who’s Not,” Bloomberg, September 1, 2017.