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The Share Of Adults Working Or Looking For Work Is Lowest Since 1977

CREDIT: SHUTTERSTOCK
CREDIT: SHUTTERSTOCK

The economy added 142,000 jobs in August while the unemployment rate stayed at 5.1 percent, according to the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Analysts had expected 203,000 jobs to be added.

There was a good deal of bad news in the report. Jobs were revised downward for the past two months: August was lowered from 173,000 to 136,000, while July was revised down from 245,000 to 243,000, with a total of 59,000 fewer jobs than previously thought.

The labor force also declined by 350,000 workers, and the participation rate of 62.4 percent — meaning the share of adults either working or looking for work — is the lowest since 1977.

Average hourly wages were down by one cent after gaining 9 cents in August and have risen 2.2 percent over the last year, in keeping with recent record low rates.

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September’s job growth came in health care (34,000 jobs), professional and business services (31,000 jobs), retail (24,000 jobs), and food and drinking places (21,000 jobs). Job losses were in mining and logging (12,000 fewer jobs) and manufacturing (9,000 fewer jobs).