August Brought Fewer New Jobs Than Expected, But Several Industries Saw Steady Growth

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The United States generated 142,000 new jobs in August, breaking the six-month streak of +200,000 job gains. This number comes in well below what economists were expecting, however, August is historically a slower month for job growth. The unemployment rate dropped slightly from 6.2 percent to 6.1 percent.  During the past year, the unemployment rate and the number of unemployed persons have declined by 1.1 percentage points, and 1.7 million, respectively.

Revisions to prior months showed that both June and July had seen 28,000 fewer new jobs than was previously reported. The June payroll number was revised from +298,000 to +267,000 and the July numbers were revised from +209,000 to +212,000.

Looking deeper into the BLS “Employment Situation – August 2014” report, here are some figures on job creation in specific industries:

Professional and Business Services

The industry that showed the highest job growth in August was professional and business services, adding 47,000 jobs to the economy, making the year-over-year total 639,000 jobs. Subsectors such as management of companies and enterprises added 7,800 jobs (2.1 million total workforce), administrative and support services created 22,700 jobs (8.3 million total workforce) and temporary help services generated 13,000 jobs (2.8 million total workforce). In total, 19.3 million Americans were employed within this sector last month.


Employment in the retail sector lost 8,400 jobs in August, reducing the total employed in this sector to 15.3 million. Within the industry, food and beverage stores lost 17,100 jobs (2.9 million total workforce), clothing and accessories stores lost 6,200 jobs (1.3 million total workforce), and general merchandise stores added 7,600 jobs (3.1 million total workforce). 


The healthcare industry added 34,000 jobs during August. The ambulatory services subsector led the way with 22,800 jobs (6.7 million total workforce), social assistance generated 8,700 jobs (3.3 million total workforce) and physicians’ offices grew 7,800 jobs (2.5 million total workforce).


Manufacturing saw no change in August, following the addition of 28,000 jobs in July.


The construction sector picked up 20,000 new jobs in August (6 million total workforce). Within the sector, residential specialty trade contractors saw an increase of 9,200 jobs (1.6 million total workforce), nonresidential specialty trade contractors grew by 2,300 jobs (2.1 million total workforce), and construction of buildings grew by 7,200 (1.3 million total workforce).

Temporary Help Services

The temporary help services sub-sector continues to rise, reporting its 19th consecutive month of job creation in August – with an increase of 13,000 jobs. This brings the yearly growth up to 214,900. Since August 2013, this sector has kept an average of 2.8 million people employed.

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