Recent data shows that job growth in the United States slowed in August with employers adding only 156,000 jobs in the month. Yes, that is still a decent number—and enough to suggest most businesses are still confident of economic rebound as we approach the decade mark since the Great Recession.
But while the jobs report did not hit the 200,000 new job mark economists had expected, it did indicate that average hourly wages are up: 3 cents last month—a 2.5 percent bump to $26.39—from the same period one year ago.
Indeed.com chief economist Jed Kolko comments, “Growth was slower in August, but that’s because there were fewer gains in growing industries, not because we’re seeing more losses in shrinking industries. We’re actually at a point of unusual stability.”
Now, it is very important to note that this report does not take into any account the effects of Hurricane Harvey and the pending cleanup. The data, after all, was collected before the storm’s landfall.
And the report showed that employees actually worked a little less in August. According to the report, the average work week fell from 34.7 hours to 34.4 hours. Overall, construction, healthcare, manufacturing, and mining industries all improved, but employment fell a little in government jobs as well as information technology.
More specifically, manufacturing improved by 36,000 positions throughout the country; auto part production, computer gear, and fabricated metals leading the charge. As a matter of fact, this sector, alone, has been responsible for 155,000 jobs since last November.
Regarding August’s mostly modest progress, PNC chief economist, Gus Faucher, comments that there is no indication of serious trouble down the road. He says the labor market is tightening and that will actually make it harder for people to find available jobs.
He notes, “Businesses are seeing stronger demand, and they need more workers to keep up with that. We’re putting up more houses. We’re manufacturing more things. Consumers are buying more goods and services.”
But, there is a downside: “You’d think with businesses saying ‘we can’t hire, we can’t hire’ they’d be raising wages, but they seem reluctant to do so.”
Now, some of that might be a result of the recession but it could also be that we cheaper, younger workers who can replace the retiring baby boomer generation in the workplace.