Pace of U.S. hiring accelerates

The pace of hiring in the United States picked up in August with the addition of more than 200,000 jobs.

Nonfarm payrolls increased 201,000 and the national unemployment rate held steady at 3.9 percent, according to the latest Labor Department estimates.

Job gains for August topped those for July and June. What was initially estimated as a payroll increase of 157,000 for July was revised downward 10,000. An estimate of 248,000 new jobs in June was revised downward 40,000.

Given the latest numbers, job gains have averaged 185,000 a month over the past three months and 196,000 a month over the past year.

Still, 6.2 million people were counted among those unsuccessfully looking for work in August. Of those, 1.3 million have been out of work for 27 weeks or longer. Another 4.4 million people were counted among those working part-time because their hours had been cut or they’ve been unable to find full-time positions.

The labor participation rate edged down two-tenths of a point to 62.7 percent.

Job gains for August were spread out among industry sectors.

Business and professional services added 53,000 positions, while payrolls increased 33,000 in health care, 23,000 in construction, 22,000 in wholesale trades and 20,000 in transportation and warehousing. Employment increased 6,000 in mining.

Employment declined 3,000 in manufacturing but showed little change in other major industry sectors.

The average workweek for employees on private, nonfarm payrolls held steady at 34.5 hours. The manufacturing workweek remained unchanged at 41 hours.

Average hourly earnings for employees on private, nonfarm payrolls rose 10 cents to $27.16 in August. Over the past year, hourly wages have increased 77 cents or 2.9 percent.