WASHINGTON (Sept. 6, 2013) — U.S. nonfarm payroll employment rose by 169,000 jobs in August, while the unemployment rate was little changed at 7.3 percent, according to the latest figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The number of new jobs was roughly in line with the monthly average of 184,000 recorded over the past year, according to the BLS. The current unemployment rate compares with 8.1 percent this time last year, it said.
The strongest August job gains were in retail trade, up by 44,000. Healthcare (up 33,000) and professional and business services (up 23,000) also saw substantial growth. Motor vehicle and parts manufacturing jobs grew by 19,000 jobs in August after falling by 10,000 in July.
Virtually all commenters found the August job numbers disappointing. Job creation among small business owners stood in negative numbers for each of the past four months, according to William C. Dunkelberg, chief economist for the National Federation of Independent Business. The NFIB surveys its members every month as to their employment plans.
However, the employment picture from the most recent survey was not entirely bleak, according to Mr. Dunkelberg. "Rosier skies appear ahead, it seems, as plans for future job creation rose a very large seven points, netting 16 percent of owners with plans to increase total employment," he said.
However, spokesmen for the manufacturing sector saw little cause for hope.
"If a recession is defined as two consecutive quarters of economic contraction, today's job figures show that manufacturing employment now merits that status, with payrolls in the sector cumulatively for a seven-month stretch (January-August)," said Alan Tonelson, research fellow for the U.S. Business and Industry Council.
"Manufacturing job growth has also plummeted on a year-by-year basis so far in 2013, from 124,000 in January to 20,000 in August," Mr. Tonelson said.