The leisure and hospitality sector, a major employer in Nevada, gained an average of 61,000 jobs per month nationally over the prior 12 months. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
Hiring slowed this summer and unemployment rose in August, the sign of a cooling but still-resilient labor market despite high interest rates, say economists.
Employers added 187,000 jobs last month, while wages rose 4.3% from a year earlier, according to Friday’s job report from the Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.
From June through August, the economy added 449,000 jobs in total, the lowest three-month period in three years. Still, August’s job numbers were a marked increase from the 157,000 gain in July.
Employment in health care, leisure and hospitality, social assistance, and construction continued to trend upward. Employment in transportation and warehousing, however, declined.
The leisure and hospitality sector, a major employer in Nevada, gained an average of 61,000 jobs per month nationally over the prior 12 months. Last month the sector finally edged above pre-pandemic levels in Nevada, but nationally employment in the sector remains below its pre-pandemic February 2020 level by 290,000, or 1.7%.
In a statement, acting U.S. Secretary of Labor Julie Su said the data was an “indication that the economy continues its strong and steady growth as we return to normal following the breakneck pace of our rapid recovery.”
National unemployment rates rose to 3.8% from 3.5% in July, the highest level since February 2022, though still low by historical standards. A year earlier, the unemployment rate was 3.7%. Only people actively looking for a job are counted as unemployed.
In Nevada, however, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in July was among the nation’s highest, at 5.3%, according to the state’s Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation.
As more people entered the national labor market, the labor force participation rate increased to a post-pandemic recovery high of 62.8%, according to the U.S. Labor Department.
The labor force participation points to signs that more people see “an opportunity to work, and they started looking for a job. This is another sign of the optimism that people are feeling about this economy—they’re not sitting on the sidelines,” Su said.
The unemployment rate for Black and Hispanic communities remains higher than white workers.
Workers are still seeing some wage growth despite the economy slowing down, according to the report.
In August, average hourly earnings for all employees on private payrolls rose by 8 cents, or 0.2 %, to $33.82. Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings have increased by 4.3%. In August, average hourly earnings of non-supervisory employees in the private sector rose by 6 cents, or 0.2%, to $29.00.
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