Labor report: Payrolls up, jobless rate down

U.S. payrolls continue to grow even as the unemployment rate drops.

Nonfarm payrolls increased 235,000 and the jobless rate decreased two-tenths of a point to 5.2 percent in August, according to the latest estimates from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Still, the latest payroll increase was less than half the average monthly gain of 586,000 so far this year.

Estimated payroll gains for July and June were revised upward a total of 134,000 to 1,053,000 and 962,000, respectively.

Payrolls have grown 17 million since April 2020, but remain 5.3 million below the pre-pandemic level in February 2020.

For August, 8.4 million people were counted among those unsuccessfully looking for work. Of those, 3.2 million have been out of work 27 weeks or longer.

Another 4.5 million people were counted among those working part-time because their hours were reduced or they were unable to find full-time positions.

The labor participation rate remained unchanged at 61.7 percent, still 1.6 points lower than February 2020.

Employment increased 74,000 in business and professional services, with gains in architectural, engineering and computer firms.

Payrolls rose 53,000 in transportation and warehousing and 40,000 in private education. Manufacturers added 37,000 jobs, while payrolls rose 16,000 in financial activities. Employment decreased 29,000 in retail trades and was little changed in the leisure and hospitality, construction and health care sectors.

The average workweek remained unchanged for a third straight month at 34.7 hours. The manufacturing workwork shortened two-tenths of an hour to 40.3 hours.

Average hourly earnings rose 17 cents to $30.73, the fifth consecutive month for gains.