A deeper dive into the BLS report at a regional level
At first glance, the results of the BLS’ “The Employment Situation – August 2013” report appeared to be quite positive as the report showed the addition of 169,000 jobs and the national jobless rate decreased slightly, from 7.4 to 7.3 percent, the lowest rate of 2013. Additionally, the national underemployment rate contracted for the second straight month, falling to 13.7 percent.
Some economists quickly pointed out a key statistic from the report, which may have directly caused the decrease in the national jobless rate: the country’s civilian labor force diminished considerably, declining by 312,000. As a result, the United States recorded its lowest labor force participation rate since August 1978 – 63.2 percent.
Although nonfarm payroll employment continued to rise, as it has every month since March 2010, the BLS’ recently published job creation figures were lower than many economists had anticipated as some experts predicted at least 180,000 jobs would be added to the economy.
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