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

Sep 5, 2008

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).

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.

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