US adds 169,000 jobs in Aug, jobless rate edges down to 7.3%

06 September 2013 15:11  [Source: ICIS news]

WASHINGTON (ICIS)--The US added 169,000 jobs in August and the nation’s unemployment rate edged down to 7.3% from the July reading of 7.4%, the Labor Department said on Friday.

In its monthly report on employment, the department said that job gains were seen chiefly in the retail trade and healthcare sectors along with workforce improvements in business services, hospitality, wholesale trade and manufacturing.

There were job declines in the information industry while employment held steady in mining, construction, transportation, financial services and government.

The August gain of 169,000 jobs is close to the 175,000 range that many forecasters had been expecting.

Last month's employment gain also was considerably better than the downwardly revised July figure of 104,000. July's job growth initially had been estimated at 162,000.

The US needs to add about 150,000 jobs each month just to accommodate young workers entering the employment market.  Economists say that, to make significant headway in lowering the unemployment rate, the nation should be adding 300,000 or more jobs each month for multiple quarters.

While 7.3% unemployment is still high – against a normal range of around 4-5% – the department noted that the jobless rate is considerably better than a year earlier when it was 8.1%.

Within the overall jobless community, the department said the unemployment rate among teenagers available for work was 22.7% in August, little changed from earlier months.

The number of people who want jobs but cannot find work was 11.3m in August, about the same as in July.

In addition to that main body of unemployed, there are another 7.9m Americans in part-time jobs because they cannot find full-time work.

A further 2.3m people are in a category the department calls “marginally attached to the workforce” because, while they want work, they have largely given up looking for a job. These unemployed are not counted in the overall jobless figure.

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

By: Joe Kamalick
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