Monthly Employment Report

This monthly employment report from the BLS is a mover and shaker in the markets that measures labor force status, hours worked , earnings, and unemployment of private nonfarm businesses using two major surveys. This highly watched indicator is released just after month-end, typically the first Friday of the following month. When the 12th of the previous month falls on a Sunday, the report is released on the second Friday of the following month.

This morning’s Employment Situation release for August showed an addition of 187K new jobs which was better than forecast and the unemployment rate ticked up to 3.8%. While the unemployment rate is now at its highest level since early 2022, it’s still at historically low levels.

Employment trended up in August in health care, leisure & hospitality, social assistance, and construction. Employment in transportation & warehousing declined, largely due to the ~37K layoffs associated with the bankruptcy of trucking company Yellow Corp. Many other industries showed little change in the month of August.

The labor force participation rate (LFPR) has struggled to reach pre-pandemic levels, but seems to be inching up, now at 62.8% from 62.6% in July. For context, the LFPR hovered around 62% between 2015 and 2019.

The June and July figures for employment were revised downward by 80K and 30K, respectively, accounting for 110K fewer jobs than previously reported. The number of jobs added is still at historically healthy levels, but the rate of change in employment suggests that cracks may be starting to appear in this last pillar of economic strength.