The chief economist for the National Association of Realtors called today’s August jobs report from the U.S. Department of Labor “a bit light.”

The U.S. added 156,000 jobs in the month of August, slightly below the monthly average of 176,000 jobs per month thus far in 2017, but still enough to add jobs in several sectors.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, unemployment was a fraction higher at 4.4 percent, but has hovered at 4.3 or 4.4 percent since April.

“Job creation in July was a bit light at 156,000,” Lawrence Yun NAR’s chief economist said in a statement. “The unemployment rate is very low, but has not yet meaningfully forced up wages. It has been a humdrum economy so far this year, seesawing between good to tolerable, yet certainly not great. Nonetheless, the 12-month job gains total still tops 2 million, and that will likely grow household formation and home buying demand. The job figures in July assures that interest rates will remain low for a longer period.”

Job gains occurred in manufacturing, construction, professional and technical services, health care and mining, with manufacturing seeing the biggest monthly increase at 36,000 jobs.

Out of those increasing sectors, health care has seen the largest increase in 2017, rising by 328,000 jobs overall.

BLS also pointed out that Hurricane Harvey had no “discernable effect” on August employment and unemployment data.

Employment in food services and drinking places in other major industries including wholesale trade, retail trade, transportation, warehousing, information, financial activities and government showed little change over the month.

The labor force participation rate in August, 62.9 percent, was unchanged and has shown little movement on net over the past year.

About 1.5 million people were marginally attached to the labor force, meaning these individuals were not in the labor force, wanted and were available for work, and had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months.

These people were not counted as unemployed because they had not searched for work in the four weeks preceding the BLS survey. This number is similar from last year.

Among the marginally attached, 448,000 were considered discouraged workers, people not currently looking for work because they believe no jobs are available for them. The remaining 1.1 million persons marginally attached to the labor force in August had not searched for work for reasons such as school attendance or family responsibilities.

The number of discouraged workers were down 128,000 from one year ago.

NAR Calls U.S. Jobs Report Good But Not Great

by Banker & Tradesman time to read: 2 min
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