US Jobless Rate Holds Steady at 3.9%


The US unemployment rate was unchanged at 3.9 percent in August 2018, above market expectations of 3.8 percent. Still, the jobless rate remained close to May's 18-year low as the number of unemployed declined by 46 thousand to 6.23 million and employment fell by 423 thousand to 155.54 million.

Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult men (3.5 percent), adult women (3.6 percent), teenagers (12.8 percent), Whites (3.4 percent), Blacks (6.3 percent), Asians (3.0 percent), and Hispanics (4.7 percent) showed little or no change in August.

The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) was little changed in August at 1.3 million and accounted for 21.5 percent of the unemployed. Over the year, the number of long-term unemployed has declined by 403,000.

Both the labor force participation rate, at 62.7 percent, and the employment-population ratio, at 60.3 percent, declined by 0.2 percentage point in August. 

The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons (sometimes referred to as involuntary part-time workers), at 4.4 million, changed little over the month but was down by 830,000 over the year. These individuals, who would have preferred full-time employment, were working part time because their hours had been reduced or they were unable to find full-time jobs.

In August, 1.4 million persons were marginally attached to the labor force, little different from a year earlier. (Data are not seasonally adjusted.) These individuals were not in the labor force, wanted and were available for work, and had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months. They were not counted as unemployed because they had not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey. Among the marginally attached, there were 434,000 discouraged workers in August, essentially unchanged from a year earlier. (Data are not seasonally adjusted.) Discouraged workers are persons not currently looking for work because they believe no jobs are available for them. The remaining 1.0 million persons marginally attached to the labor force in August had not searched for work for reasons such as school attendance or family responsibilities.

US Jobless Rate Holds Steady at 3.9%


BLS | Joana Ferreira | joana.ferreira@tradingeconomics.com
9/7/2018 12:35:36 PM