The new Employment Situation Summary is out – and it’s small wonder that there was little eager anticipation of what it would contain. Nothing happened.
Official seasonally adjusted unemployment moved to 6.1% from 6.2%, going back to where it was the month before. The same happened with the labor force participation rate, which returned to 62.8%. There were 142,000 more jobs in August, again seasonally adjusted, than in July, a smaller gain than in previous months but still more than were absorbed by the population increase.
The best news was on long-term unemployed and those working part-time for economic reasons. Both declined, from 3.2 to 3.0 million jobless for 27 weeks or longer and from 7.5 to 7.3 million with work and wanting but not finding full-time hours. The employment to population ratio held at 59.0%.
The largest components of the American Job Shortage Number (AJSN) generally improved. The total number of unemployed, as with all of the figures in this section not seasonally adjusted, fell more than 500,000 to just under 9.8 million. About 150,000 fewer reported they wanted work but had not looked for it for at least a year, and now add up to about 3.6 million. After those, August’s results were mixed, with the two largest categories of people away from the labor force well up, including almost 1.6 million more Americans saying they did not want a job at all, and the total of those in the armed forces, institutionalized, and off the grid or otherwise unaccounted for up a high 1.3 million. Overall, the AJSN’s drop of 378,000 adds up this way:
In the past year the AJSN has fallen 1.3 million. In August 2013, there were about 1.7 million more officially unemployed, but 1.7 million fewer reporting no interest at all in a job, and over 200,000 fewer wanting work but not having looked for it for a year or more.
So, not much change anywhere here. The improvements in long-term jobless and part-time for economic reasons could be the start of something good, but they look like fluctuations within their ranges for now. The same thing goes in the other direction for the higher count of people saying they did not want to work. Otherwise, we couldn’t ask for a more neutral jobs report.
One thing stood out, though. Curiously, those unaccounted for jumped in August last year as well – perhaps there’s something about summer weather that makes people disappear for a while. We’ll see if they come back this month, when the new federal jobs data, and the new AJSN, are released October 1.