U.S. payrolls grow while jobless rate holds steady

Payrolls continue to grow in the United States even as the unemployment rate remains near a 50-year low.

Nonfarm payrolls increased 130,000 in August, and the jobless rate remained unchanged at 3.7 percent for a third straight month, according to the latest Labor Department estimates.

The initial estimate for payroll gains in July was revised down 5,00 to 164,000. The estimate for June was revised down 15,000 to 178,000.

With the latest numbers, payrolls have increased an average of 158,000 a month so far in 2019. Payrolls increased an average of 223,000 a month in 2018.

For August, 6 million people were counted among those unsuccessfully looking for work. Of those, 1.2 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 were cut or they were unable to find full-time positions.

The labor participation rate edged up two-tenths of a point to 63.2 percent.

Payroll gains were spread out among a number of industry sectors. Professional and business services added 37,000 jobs. Employment increased 24,000 in health care, 15,000 in financial activities and 13,000 in social assistance. Federal government payrolls increased 28,000 with the hiring of temporary workers to prepare for the 2020 census. Employment decreased 11,000 in retail trades and 6,000 in mining.

The average workweek for employees on private, nonfarm payrolls edged up a tenth of an hour to 34.4 hours in August. The average manufacturing workweek increased two-tenths of an hour to 40.6 hours.

Average hourly earnings for employees on private, nonfarm payrolls rose 11 cents to $28.11 after 9-cent gains in both July and June. Over the past year, average hourly earnings have increased 3.2 percent.