September 06, 2002

BLS August Report

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that businesses employed 39,000 more people in August than they did in July (on a seasonally adjusted basis). The BLS also reports that its survey of households produces an estimate of 429,000 more Americans at work in August than in July.

Which is more reliable? I have always trusted the business employment survey rather than the household survey as a more reliable business cycle indicator. This month, it is the one that is more pessimistic about the state of the economy.


Employment Report


Technical information:

  Household data:  (202) 691-6378   USDL 02-509

          http://www.bls.gov/cps/



  Establishment data:    691-6555   Transmission of material in this release is

          http://www.bls.gov/ces/   embargoed until 8:30 A.M. (EDT),

Media contact:           691-5902   Friday, September 6, 2002.

                                     

                                     

                  THE EMPLOYMENT SITUATION:  AUGUST 2002





   Both payroll employment and the unemployment rate were little changed in

August, the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor

reported today.  Job gains in services, government, and construction were

largely offset by losses in manufacturing and retail trade.

   

Unemployment (Household Survey Data)

   

   Both the unemployment rate, 5.7 percent, and the number of unemployed

persons, 8.1 million, were little changed over the month.  The jobless

rates for the major worker groups--adult men (5.2 percent), adult women

(4.9 percent), teenagers (17.2 percent), whites (5.1 percent), blacks 

(9.6 percent), and Hispanics (7.5 percent)--showed little or no change.  

(See tables A-1 and A-2.)

   

   The number of persons unemployed 15 weeks or more was 2.8 million in

August, down from the recent high of 3.1 million in June.  (See table A-6.)



Total Employment and the Labor Force (Household Survey Data)

   

   Total employment rose by 429,000 to 134.5 million in August, after seasonal 

adjustment.  The employment-population ratio was up by 0.2 percentage point to 

62.8 percent.  The civilian labor force (142.6 million) and the labor force 

participation rate (66.6 percent) were essentially unchanged over the month.  

(See table A-1.)

   

   About 6.8 million persons (not seasonally adjusted) held more than one

job in August.  These multiple jobholders represented 5.0 percent of the

total employed.  (See table A-10.)

   

Persons Not in the Labor Force (Household Survey Data)

   

   About 1.4 million persons (not seasonally adjusted) were marginally

attached to the labor force in August, essentially the same as a year

earlier.  These individuals reported that they wanted and were available

for work and had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months.  They

were not counted as unemployed, however, because they had not actively

searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey.  The number of

discouraged workers was 372,000 in August.  Discouraged workers, a subset

of the marginally attached, were not currently looking for work 

specifically because they believed no jobs were available for them.  

(See table A-10.)



                                  - 2 -



Table A.  Major indicators of labor market activity, seasonally adjusted

(Numbers in thousands)

___________________________________________________________________________

                      |    Quarterly    |                          |

                      |    averages     |       Monthly data       |

                      |_________________|__________________________| July-

      Category        |       2002      |           2002           | Aug.

                      |_________________|__________________________|change

                      |   I    |   II   |  June  |  July  |  Aug.  |

______________________|________|________|________|________|________|_______

    HOUSEHOLD DATA    |                 Labor force status

                      |____________________________________________________

Civilian labor force..| 141,868| 142,605| 142,476| 142,390| 142,616|    226

  Employment..........| 133,894| 134,149| 134,053| 134,045| 134,474|    429

  Unemployment........|   7,975|   8,456|   8,424|   8,345|   8,142|   -203

Not in labor force....|  71,342|  71,059|  71,366|  71,633|  71,609|    -24

                      |________|________|________|________|________|_______

                      |                 Unemployment rates

                      |____________________________________________________

All workers...........|     5.6|     5.9|     5.9|     5.9|     5.7|   -0.2

  Adult men...........|     5.1|     5.3|     5.4|     5.2|     5.2|     .0

  Adult women.........|     4.9|     5.2|     5.1|     5.2|     4.9|    -.3

  Teenagers...........|    16.0|    17.1|    17.6|    17.7|    17.2|    -.5

  White...............|     5.0|     5.2|     5.2|     5.3|     5.1|    -.2

  Black...............|    10.1|    10.7|    10.7|     9.9|     9.6|    -.3

  Hispanic origin.....|     7.5|     7.4|     7.4|     7.6|     7.5|    -.1

                      |________|________|________|________|________|_______

 ESTABLISHMENT DATA   |                     Employment

                      |____________________________________________________

Nonfarm employment....| 130,759| 130,706| 130,736|p130,803|p130,842|    p39

  Goods-producing 1/..|  24,049|  23,879|  23,861| p23,820| p23,787|   p-33

    Construction......|   6,602|   6,544|   6,549|  p6,519|  p6,553|    p34

    Manufacturing.....|  16,883|  16,776|  16,757| p16,750| p16,682|   p-68

  Service-producing 1/| 106,711| 106,827| 106,875|p106,983|p107,055|    p72

    Retail trade......|  23,353|  23,327|  23,308| p23,341| p23,286|   p-55

    Services..........|  40,924|  41,090|  41,152| p41,212| p41,312|   p100

    Government........|  21,165|  21,201|  21,211| p21,231| p21,272|    p41

                      |________|________|________|________|________|_______

                      |                  Hours of work 2/

                      |____________________________________________________

Total private.........|    34.2|    34.2|    34.3|   p34.0|   p34.1|   p0.1

  Manufacturing.......|    40.8|    41.0|    41.1|   p40.7|   p40.8|    p.1

    Overtime..........|     4.0|     4.2|     4.3|    p4.0|    p4.2|    p.2

                      |________|________|________|________|________|_______

                      |    Indexes of aggregate weekly hours (1982=100) 2/

                      |____________________________________________________

Total private.........|   148.2|   148.3|   148.6|  p147.5|  p147.9|   p0.4

                      |________|________|________|________|________|_______

                      |                      Earnings 2/

                      |____________________________________________________

Avg. hourly earnings, |        |        |        |        |        |

  total private.......|  $14.62|  $14.71|  $14.75| p$14.78| p$14.82| p$0.04

Avg. weekly earnings, |        |        |        |        |        |

  total private.......|  499.52|  503.58|  505.93| p502.52| p505.36|  p2.84

______________________|________|________|________|________|________|_______

   1/  Includes other industries, not shown separately.

   2/  Data relate to private production or nonsupervisory workers.

   p=preliminary.

   

                                  - 3 -



Industry Payroll Employment (Establishment Survey Data)



   Total nonfarm payroll employment was little changed (+39,000) in August

at 130.8 million.  Since its recent low in April, payroll employment has

edged up by 162,000.  (See table B-1.)

   

   The services industry added 100,000 jobs in August.  Employment in this

industry has risen by 411,000 since February.  Employment in health services 

rose by 26,000 in August, in line with the average monthly increase over the 

prior 12 months.  The help supply industry, which provides workers to other 

businesses, added 51,000 jobs over the month, following a decline of 30,000 

in July.  Since its recent low point in February of this year, employment in 

help supply services has risen by 165,000.

   

   Government employment rose by 41,000 over the month.  The federal

government added 20,000 jobs, mostly reflecting an increase in the number

of federal security personnel at airports.  Employment in local government

grew by 34,000 in August, due largely to a gain in local education.  State

education employment fell by 20,000, after increasing by the same amount in

July.

   

   Employment in construction increased by 34,000 in August.  Despite this

one-month increase, the level of construction employment in August was

essentially the same as in April.



   Manufacturing employment declined by 68,000 in August; this compares

with losses in the prior 4 months that averaged 18,000.  In August, job

losses were widespread, including substantial declines in electronic and

other electrical equipment (-18,000) and industrial machinery and equipment

(-13,000).  After remaining fairly steady from January through July,

employment in fabricated metal products decreased by 10,000 in August.

Rubber and plastics manufacturing lost 7,000 jobs, offsetting the previous

month?s increase.

   

   Retail trade, which had shown little change on balance since February,

lost 55,000 jobs in August.  A decline in department store employment 

(-41,000) accounted for most of the drop.

   

                                  - 4 -



Weekly Hours (Establishment Survey Data)

   

   The average workweek for production or nonsupervisory workers on private

nonfarm payrolls edged up by 0.1 hour in August to 34.1 hours, seasonally

adjusted.  This follows a decline of 0.3 hour in July.  The manufacturing

workweek also was up by 0.1 hour over the month to 40.8 hours.



   Manufacturing overtime rose by 0.2 hour to 4.2 hours.  Both measures had

declined in July.  (See table B-2.)

   

   The index of aggregate weekly hours of production or nonsupervisory

workers on private nonfarm payrolls rose by 0.3 percent in August to 147.9

(1982=100).  The manufacturing index was down by 0.2 percent over the

month.  (See table B-5.)



Hourly and Weekly Earnings (Establishment Survey Data)

   

   Average hourly earnings of production or nonsupervisory workers on

private nonfarm payrolls increased by 4 cents in August to $14.82,

seasonally adjusted.  Average weekly earnings increased by 0.6 percent 

over the month to $505.36.  Over the year, both average hourly earnings 

and average weekly earnings grew by 3.1 percent.  (See table B-3.)

   

                      ______________________________

   

   

   The Employment Situation for September 2002 is scheduled to be released

on Friday, October 4, at 8:30 A.M. (EDT).

   

                                  - 5 - 
Posted by DeLong at September 6, 2002 01:33 PM | TrackBack
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