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Thursday, September 5, 2013

August 2013 Unemployment Rate Jobs Numbers

August 2013 Jobs Numbers and Unemployment Rate were released Friday, September 6, 2013. Highlights:  

  • At first weaker numbers than expected-- but August is generally not a good month for jobs, even with seasonal adjustments.  More about this in the coming days.  The unemployment rate fell due to fewer people in the labor force and fewer people unemployed.  The percent of people working full-time increased. Altogether, even though August is a stagnant month for jobs, a mediocre report, but not as bad as first glance would indicate.
  • Alternate (U-6) unemployment rate decreased .3% to 13.7%.
  • The percent of people working full-time went up slightly, from 80.46% up to 80.60%.  The percent of people working full-time over the past year increased slightly from 80.54% to 80.60%.  The unemployment rate of people looking for full-time work stayed the same at 7.6%.
  • 169,000 new nonfarm payroll jobs (net).
  • 152,000 new private sector nonfarm jobs.
  • Prior months revisions:  Down 70,000, which is a big decrease.
  • Unemployment rate down .1% to 7.3%.
  • Number of people unemployed down 198,000.
  • Government gained a surprising 17,000 jobs.
  • Civilian labor force declined by 312,000.  In unadjusted numbers, the civilian labor force always decreases in August.  Summer workers start to leave but teachers are not yet back in school.
  • People employed (includes farm workers and the self-employed) decreased by 115,000.  This indicates that the unemployment rate decreased mostly because people left the labor force in August.  Further investigation will be needed to determine if people who were looking for work "gave up" or if people who were working stopped working for various reasons, such as retirement, young people returning to school, etc.  The number of discouraged workers declined in August. 
  • The number of long term unemployed (over 27 weeks) increased by 44,000 and the average duration of unemployment crept up to 37.0 weeks.  Median duration ticked down to 16.4 weeks.  This indicates that, while newly unemployed people are finding work more quickly, the long-term unemployed people continue to struggle. 

Watch this post.  As details and reports are published Friday, the following links will be added or updated and you will see notations for August replace those for July.

Other Recent Posts About Employment and the Labor Market:

Preview and prognostications:

Listed below are the estimates of various pundits and economists about today's jobs numbers.  BLS jobs numbers came in slightly lower than most expected, particularly due to revisions to the two prior months.

(Written early Friday, September 6):  Economists all jump on the bandwagon to predict what the BLS jobs report will show.  Here are some of their predictions.  We will know who got it wrong and who was on the money in a few hours.  Most August economic reports so far have come in above the estimates of the pundits.  We'll have to see if BLS payrolls follow the pattern:

  • The private payroller, ADP, which always announces its jobs report a day or two ahead of the BLS jobs report, believes that 176,000 private sector jobs were added in August 2013.  According to  This is "a little weaker than the 180,000 expected but in line with the average over the last two years. The Labor Department's data have put private sector gains at about 193,000 a month for the last two years."
  • Also from 

    "The consensus estimate is for the unemployment rate to remain at 7.4%, unchanged from July. Non-farm payrolls are expected to rise by 180,000. 

    The report will be viewed by investors around the world in the context of the Federal Reserve, whose Federal Open Market Committee meets Sept. 17-18. The big issue then will be whether the Fed will taper its bond buying program, which has kept interest rates low. 

    Here's how the report, due at 8:30 a.m. ET, could affect markets. ...

    A big report -- the unemployment rates falls and payrolls jump more than 250,000 -- could give markets a lift because the economy is growing more strongly than thought. But it would guarantee the Fed would trim back its bond-buying program, and that might curb the enthusiasm.

    A modestly positive report -- the unemployment rate falls to 7.3% and payrolls meet estimates -- might excite traders. The Fed wouldn't feel compelled to taper, and stocks would rise in response.

    A modestly weak report -- the unemployment rate holds at 7.4% or rises and payrolls come in at, say, 160,000 -- could get the market thinking the Fed will delay tapering. That might depress interest rates but lift stocks. Stock prices move up when rates fall.

    And a bad jobs report -- the jobless rates moves higher and payrolls are significantly weaker than expected -- could generate a sell-off, reflecting worries about the economy."
  • From Marketwatch:

    "...a trend in private employment shows steady expansion over the past few months. The three-month moving average for private-sector job gains rose to 188,000 in August from 140,000 in May.

    “We had hoped for a slightly stronger reading but this is good enough, if replicated in the official employment numbers tomorrow, to keep the Fed on course to announce tapering later this month,” wrote Ian Shepherdson, chief economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, in a research note....
    August’s private-sector payrolls gain (as reported by ADP)  is “enough to reinforce expectations that the Fed will begin to taper its asset purchases, albeit cautiously, later this month,” wrote Paul Ashworth, chief U.S. economist at Capital Economics, in a research note.
    Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody’s Analytics, which prepares the report with ADP data, said there’s “little evidence” that fiscal austerity and health-care reform are having a significant impact on jobs. “It is steady as she goes in the job market,” Zandi said.
    Analysts polled by Marketwatch had expected an August gain of 185,000 jobs, compared with an originally estimated increase of 200,000 in July. ... Economists expect the government to report Friday that nonfarm payrolls rose 170,000 in August, slightly higher than July’s gain of 162,000."
  • From Business Investor's Daily:

    Employment Situation (Friday): Economists estimate that U.S. companies added 175,000 nonfarm payrolls in August. They also expect the unemployment rate to be unchanged at 7.4%. "We expect nonfarm payrolls to show modest gains in August," said Wells Fargo's John Silvia who expects a 185,000 print. "The reference week of initial jobless claims rose slightly over last month and the employment components of regional purchasing manager surveys were positive."


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