Will a Temporary Dip in New Jobs Hurt the Economy?

Posted: 09/05/14 | Category: Job Search

The job market is all about the big picture. Despite the temporary downturn of the August jobs report, many industries are resilient enough to still experience growth. The economy is still on a positive track and we only just got out of a six month streak of jobs reports over 200,000 jobs. So, let’s look at where we are and where we’ll go in the coming months.

Employment Numbers Miss the Mark

Going into the August jobs report, economists anticipated the total number of new payroll positions to be near 225,000. However, the BLS only recorded 142,000 new nonfarm payrolls. Though this jobs report won’t prompt celebration in the streets, it’s not anywhere near the worst numbers we’ve seen.

The last time new personnel numbers went below 200,000 was back in January, when the initial jobs report was 113,000 new payroll jobs. That eventually was revised upward. Moreover, the August jobs report fails to approach the most substantial month-over-month drop in recent memory: the 129,000 job disparity between November and December 2013 takes that cake. 

Revisions from previous months were a mixed bag. July’s job report was amended up from 209,000 to 212,000. In a rare moment, June’s job report were revised down from 298,000 to 267,000.

Unemployment Rates Essentially Stay the Same

Unemployment rates ticked down from the month before. Once again, we’ve returned from 6.2% to 6.1%, a natural fluctuation. The labor force participation simultaneously fluttered down from 62.9% to 62.8%. Both changes are too insignificant at this time to gauge, but will merit review in the coming months.  

Mid-August, the BLS released a state by state breakdown of the unemployment numbers and the range went up. Unemployment rates range from 2.8% in North Dakota and 8.0% in Mississippi.

Information Technology

The number of new jobs being added to the information technology sector in the August jobs report receded from the month before. Due to the volley back and forth of gains and losses, there was only an increase of 700 payroll positions. This loss has been part of a steady downward trajectory. 

Computer system designs saw an addition of 1,500 jobs, data hosting saw an addition of 1,000, and telecommunications lessened those gains with a total loss of 1,800 jobs.

Manufacturing/Engineering

In an odd moment, the losses and gains in manufacturing jobs leveled each other out. Durable goods industries added 2,000 new jobs and nondurable goods lost 2,000 jobs. There were even a few numbers that shook up trends over the last few months.

For durable goods, a large loss of 9,200 jobs in the transportation and motor vehicle equipment sectors displaced gains in other industries. Otherwise, there was positive growth in the computer and electronic manufacturing sector with 1,200 jobs, nonmetallic mineral sector with 2,900 jobs, wood product sector with 1,700 jobs, and machinery manufacturing sector with 2,500 jobs. Other sectors brought their own minor losses and gains.

For nondurable goods, the loss would have been greater if not for the 1,500 new jobs gained in food manufacturing. For the first time in months, food manufacturing made positive growth. Though California, a huge produce contributor is still in the throes of a 3 year drought, other states are making up the difference.

The greatest identified loss was 1,100 jobs in plastics and rubber goods. Oddly enough, there were 3,100 jobs lost in miscellaneous nondurables.

The engineering field only made minor growth this last month. In the August jobs report, there were only 2,400 new payroll jobs added to the labor market. Architectural/engineering services added 1,500 new positions while heavy and civil engineering added 900. In July, US construction spending had gone up by 1.8% to make up for the loss the month before. Hopefully, those numbers will persist.

Accounting

The accounting sector only slightly decreased in the number of new jobs added to the overall economy. 4,200 new accounting jobs were added to the economy, which is still keeping the financial sector strong.

Light Industrial

The diverse sectors that make up the light industrial industry made a strong showing with an overall increase of 5,600 new payroll jobs. Repair and maintenance industries added 6,300 new payroll jobs, which were only slightly affected by the loss of 700 jobs in the warehousing and storage sector.

On a Final Note

In spite of a disappointing BLS jobs report, it’s only a minor setback after months of growth. There’s even a chance that in the coming months, these numbers will be revised upward.

by James Walsh

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