US adds only 96,000 jobs in Aug but unemployment falls to 8.1%

07 September 2012 14:48  [Source: ICIS news]

WASHINGTON (ICIS)--The US economy generated only 96,000 jobs in August, the Labor Department said on Friday, and while the unemployment rate fell to 8.1% from July’s 8.3% reading, that may reflect an increased number of those who have given up looking for work.

Economists had been predicting employment growth of around 130,000 for August.

Jobs expansion of only 96,000 is not enough to accommodate US population growth.

The US economy needs to add about 150,000 new jobs each month just to provide employment for young people entering the workforce.

July saw a gain of 163,000 new jobs.

Economists say that to lower the unemployment rate, the country would have to generate about 350,000 jobs per month for multiple quarters.  At that consistent pace of employment expansion, it would likely take three years to lower the unemployment rate to 6%, according to some estimates.

While the August unemployment rate fell by two-tenths of a point to 8.1%, the department’s data showed that the number of Americans who want jobs but can’t find one and have given up looking rose by 1.2% in August from July to 2.56m.

Although they are jobless and want to work, those people are not counted as unemployed because they have not looked for employment in the four weeks leading up to the department’s August survey.

The department’s report noted that monthly job growth in the US so far this year has averaged 139,000, below the monthly average of 153,000 jobs added during 2011, the first full year of the nation’s post-recession recovery.

Paul Hodges studies key influences shaping the chemical industry in Chemicals and the Economy

By: Joe Kamalick
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