In August, employers added 315,000 jobs, which represented a cooling of hiring against fears of an economic slow-down. At the same time, the economic and jobs recovery seems to be holding firm, with particular focus on professional and business services, health care and retail.
For months, economists have been warning that job growth will cool as rising inflation rates make employers less likely to borrow and expand. In August the unemployment rate ticked up slightly, to 3.7% from a pandemic low of 3.5%. After thousands of Americans (some of whom had been looking for work) were enticed into new positions by higher wages, this jobs report may signal the beginning of an adjustment to the extremely fast growth of the past year or so.
Key takeaways from the jobs report
- Professional and business services added 68,000 jobs, showing particular strength in terms of computers and information technology, management and architectural services.
- Health care added 48,000 jobs, putting the industry close to its pre-pandemic levels.
- Retail is showing a strong recovery with an additional 44,000 jobs.
High demand for information and management workers
Professional and business services were the biggest gainers in August with an added 68,000 jobs. Within the industry, employment gains occurred in computer systems design and related services (+14,000), management and technical consulting services (+13,000), architectural and engineering services (+10,000), and scientific research and development services (+6,000).
Health care experiences gains
In August, health care employment rose by 48,000, with job gains in offices of physicians (+15,000), hospitals (+15,000), and nursing and residential care facilities (+12,000). Health care has added 412,000 jobs over the year. Despite this growth, employment in health care is below its February 2020 level by 37,000, or 0.2 percent.
Retail is going strong
Retail trade added 44,000 jobs in August and 422,000 jobs over the past 12 months. In August, employment increased in general merchandise stores (+15,000), food and beverage stores (+15,000), health and personal care stores (+10,000), and building material and garden supply stores (+7,000). Employment in furniture and home furnishings stores continued to trend down (-3,000).
Other areas of note
- Manufacturing employment continued to trend up in August (+22,000), with gains concentrated in durable goods industries (+19,000). Manufacturing has added 461,000 jobs over the year.
- Employment in financial activities rose by 17,000 in August and by 200,000 over the year.
- Employment in wholesale trade increased by 15,000 in August, returning to its February 2020 level. This industry has added 197,000 jobs over the year.
- Employment in leisure and hospitality changed little in August (+31,000), following average monthly gains of 90,000 in the first 7 months of the year. Employment in leisure and hospitality is below its February 2020 level by 1.2 million, or 7.2 percent.
- In August, employment showed little change in other major industries, including construction, transportation and warehousing, information, other services, and government.
Catch Up With Previous Jobs Reports
- Great job news in August
- Continued growth in June
- Strong growth in May
- Big month of growth in April
- March’s strong growth
- February’s blockbuster growth
- January’s strong growth despite Omicron
- Promising news for hospitality in December
- November’s mixed picture
- October’s robust gains
- A slower-than-expected report in September
- The summer‘s roaring recovery trajectory
- Better than expected growth in June, especially in travel
- Strong signs of recovery in May
- An anemic April jobs report