The latest jobs report was released Friday, Sept. 4, and it offered much of the same in terms of jobs added and the unemployment rate. However, there was one minor change in regard to which areas of the financial sector were hiring.
Much hype surrounded the latest release of the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Employment Situation Summary, due to the fact that it could influence the decision the Federal Reserve makes on its benchmark interest rate, which in turn will affect other interest rates across the U.S. But, the jobs report can also inform hiring managers and job seekers about the state of the jobs market, whether companies are looking for new talent, and whether people are entering the job market.
“The U.S. added 173,000 jobs through August.”
Economy adds under 200,000 jobs in August
The BLS report suggested that the U.S. added 173,000 jobs through August. It wouldn’t be odd to hear someone refer to this latest report as “disappointing,” since a Wall Street Journal survey indicated experts projected about 220,000 jobs added in the eighth month of the year. While 173,000 is not exactly the as good as many were expecting – and 200,000 is generally considered a good month – the jobs market nonetheless seems to be continuing its movement in the right direction.
The Wall Street Journal also noted that August is typically a month that sees upward revisions regarding jobs added later down the line. August revisions have averaged 79,000 over the last five years.
“August is notoriously the fickle month in terms of the initial estimate,” Patrick O’Keefe, director of economic research at CohnReznick and a former Labor Department official, told the news outlet. “There’s a lot of speculation on what this is, whether the HR department goes on leave or on the household side, whether people are on vacation when you call.”
Other jobs statistics steady, somewhat positive
While job growth is no longer in acceleration mode, the market is certainly making progress. With August’s gains, the 59th straight month that saw the economy add jobs, FiveThirtyEight explained that at the current rate, the U.S. is adding jobs at a pace of 3 million per year. Wages meanwhile, continued their sluggish crawl upward. Since 2010, wages have risen at a pace of 2%, the Wall Street Journal reported. Average hourly earnings for workers in the private sector ticked up 8 cents through the month of August to $25.09, a 2.2% year-over-year increase. The labor participation rate also remained pretty much unchanged at 62.6%. This figure hasn’t moved much for three months in a row.
“Financial employment increased by 19,000 jobs through August.”
Finance industry contributes to August job growth
One break from recent trends though, is in where the financial sector added jobs in August. In recent months the BLS has typically pointed out insurance jobs added as having driven hiring. However, insurance was nowhere to be found in the latest Employment Situation Summary, despite the notable contributions the finance industry once again made to the jobs market.
Financial employment increased by 19,000 jobs through August, more than July’s 17,000, but less than June, when 20,000 were added. Real estate companies added more than 8,000 jobs and securities, commodity contracts and investments firms added over 5,000. Through 2015 so far, the finance industry has added a total of 170,000 jobs. Though hiring acceleration has slowed somewhat, the finance sector has made significant contributions to job growth in recent months, and continued to do so through August.