Employment Services Lost 53,000 Jobs in August; U.S. Unemployment at 6.1%

We’ve heard from Obama, we’ve heard from McCain. And while this country is distracted by debating which candidate had the better speech (writer), the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released sobering statistics early Friday morning.

U.S. unemployment hit 6.1% in August, a five-year high. The unemployment rate was 5.7% in July. According to the BLS report, employers slashed 84,000 jobs last month.

Within professional and business services, employment services lost 53,000 jobs in August; more than two-thirds of the decrease (-37,000) occurred in temporary help services. Since its most recent peak in August 2006, employment services has lost 419,000 jobs.

Manufacturing employment fell by 61,000 in August. The largest decline occurred in motor vehicles and parts (-39,000), which has lost 128,000 jobs over the past 12 months. In August, employment fell in two home-building industries, wood products (-7,000) and furniture and related products (-7,000).

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However, overall wages went up by 0.4%, or seven cents, the BLS reports. Average hourly earnings are now $18.14.

And employment went up in some industries: computer and electronic products manufacturing added 5,000 jobs over the month; healthcare employment added 27,000 jobs in August (more than half of the gain in hospitals); and mining added 12,000 jobs in August.

Elaine Rigoli has nearly 15 years of experience managing content and community for various B2B and consumer websites. Elaine has written thousands of business and technology articles and has been quoted in The Wall Street Journal and eWeek, among other publications.


3 Comments on “Employment Services Lost 53,000 Jobs in August; U.S. Unemployment at 6.1%

  1. Well, I hate to sound like the Grinch, but this is great news. This means a bigger slice of the pie for us “survivors.” I’d like to see the entire contingency search industry shrink to about 100 recruiters: two for each state. Like Senators. 😉

    Also, don’t forget that “full employment” is 95.5% — so 93.9% employment isn’t terrible. It’s worse than it’s been in a while, but it’s still manageable.

    Harry Joiner

  2. I agree with the sentiment of what you say in the 1st paragraph. From over here in the UK the Americal political system looks ridiculous, trivial and for many of us really worrying. It would be good for us all – and not least the USA – if some of these so called political figures could read your blog and learn something!

    Regards and best wishes


  3. I have to say, I agree with Marketing recruiter that this is good news. The “employment services” sector in the UK could do with shaking out some of the low-margin, low-talent recruiters, useless RPO’s and self-important internal recruiters too. Great news for the survivors.

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