Job growth continued to grow in August, as the U.S. economy added 187,000 jobs, but it has been at a slower rate during the summer. The unemployment rate rose to 3.8% during the month.
Jobs in movie and recording industries continued to fall, to 437,600, a loss of 16,800, as the industry grapples with writers and actors strikes. Seeking to address strikes in the industry and among hotel workers, lawmakers in California are considering a bill to make striking workers eligible to receive unemployment.
Overall, average hourly earnings rose by 8 cents, or 0.2 percent, to $33.82. The labor participation rate also increased.
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The Federal Reserve’s aggressive campaign of rate hikes, designed to tame inflation, have raised concerns that it would help generate a recession. That hasn’t happened yet, leading to some hopes that the economy could be in for a soft landing as prices are kept under control.
Earlier reports for July and June also were revised downward. Employment in June was revised to 105,000, down 80,000 from its earlier figure, while job gains in July were 157,000, down 30,000 from the initial report.
The most significant job gains in August were in health care, leisure and hospitality, social assistance and construction, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Jobs in broadcasting and among content providers fell by 3,600 to 348,800. But there were job gains in performing arts, spectator sports and related industries. That category added 4,900 jobs to 538,800.
The cooling employment picture puts pressure on the Federal Reserve to hold off on another rate increase in September.
Jason Furman, Harvard professor and President Barack Obama’s chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, wrote on X:,”This is consistent with continued moderation in inflation. But not remotely cause for panic about the economic trajectory, still a lot of jobs being added and high employment. No need for the Fed to move in September and I would be shocked if they saw it differently.”
Justin Wolfers, professor at the University of Michigan, wrote, “The labor market is either just right, a little too cool, or a little too hot. Look up your charts of what a soft landing looks like, and we’re either on or near the flight path.”
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