The U.S. economy appears to be holding strong as the August jobs report was released earlier this week. The unemployment rate remains at a low 3.9 percent, approaching numbers that haven’t been seen since the 1960s. Hourly workers overall received an average 10 cent per hour raise, which is an increase of 2.9 percent since 2017. Wages have been historically stagnant (they haven’t changed since April 2009), so this increase in hourly wages is a major gain for U.S. households and the U.S. economy.
Over the year, the number of long-term unemployed (people who are jobless for 27 or more weeks) has declined by 403,000.
Although manufacturing jobs are up by 254,000 over the year, the August jobs report indicates that manufacturing jobs might be at risk due to the tariffs imposed by President Donald Trump. Jobs in the manufacturing sector, including the automotive industry, have been cut over the last few months. The original projection of 93,000 jobs created in May, June and July was reduced to 62,000. The automotive industry cut 4,900 jobs in August, following the 3,500 that were eliminated in July.
While job growth might be slowing down in manufacturing, other industries are seeing a boon in employment opportunities. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 519,000 jobs in professional and business services were added over the course of the year, with 53,00 being added in August. Health care employment is also seeing growth, with 301,000 jobs added over the course of the year, 33,000 of those in August. Construction jobs increased by 23,000 in August, with a yearly increase of 297,000. Analysts advise against drawing too many conclusions from the jobs report, especially since it’s too early to gauge the full effects of the steel and aluminum tariffs President Trump imposed earlier this year. The jobs report does not include agricultural jobs, which are also likely to be affected by tariffs.