Economy Watch: Economy Creates 156K Jobs in August

Job growth was not as impressive in August as in previous months, but some sectors affecting the real estate industry saw job gains, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics latest jobs report.

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Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Total payroll employment increased by 156,000 in August, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported on Friday. That’s a middling total, since employment gains have averaged 176,000 jobs per month this year, and averaged 187,000 per month in 2016.

The headline unemployment rate ticked up to 4.4 percent from 4.3 percent in July, but it’s still roughly where it has been most of this year. The more expansive U-6 unemployment rate, which includes people only marginally attached to the labor force, remained the same in August, coming in at 8.6 percent.

Impact on real estate

Some of the job gains in August were in sectors affecting the real estate industry, such as construction, professional and technical services, and health care. In August, construction employment rose by 28,000, after showing little change during the previous five months. Employment among residential specialty trade contractors edged up by 12,000 over the month.

Employment in professional and technical services continued to trend up in August (gaining 22,000), which tends to spur demand for office space. That sector has grown by 262,000 over the last 12 months. Employment in other major industries, such as wholesale trade, retail trade, transportation and warehousing, information, financial activities, and government, didn’t change much over the month, the bureau said.

Hurricane Harvey had no particular effect on unemployment data for August, the BLS also reported. The two surveys that the bureau compiles during the month—the household survey and the establishment survey—were completed largely before the storm, and collection rates were within normal ranges nationally and for the affected areas. Next month will likely be a different story, as the disaster will have an impact, especially on the energy industry.