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A Glimpse into August Unemployment

  • Unemployment Rate in August 2020 decreases by 1.8 points down to 8.4%
  • 3,756,000 new jobs are created in August
  • Government, Retail Trade, and Business services industries have greatest increase in employment
  • Mining, construction, and information industries experience least improvement in August
  • Average workweek in August is 34.6 hours (+0.1).

Hiring Freeze Begins to Thaw

As we shift into Fall, we move further from the effects of COVID-19 on employment. In August, businesses moved into new stages of reopening, customers began to resume regular life, and now many are watching the job market anticipating whether employment will follow a similar path of normalization.

The US Bureau of Labour Statistics just released their State of Employment study for August 2020. This release highlights promise as employment continues to rise, creating new jobs (and bringing old ones back), and showing promise month over month. Here’s a breakdown of the statistics.

8.4%
Employment Rate
3,756,000
New Jobs in August
1.8%
Change from July

The unemployment rate provides our best look at overall unemployment throughout the US. Month-over-month we’ve seen unemployment decrease consistently since April when it reached an ultimate peak of 14.7%.

An increase of 3,756,000 jobs in August show an understandable increase as businesses begin to reopen and adjust to the new normal. Compared to July where only 1,350,000 jobs were created. Looking back at the last quarter we can see the gradual decrease in unemployment by month.

Generally the numbers shine a positive light on nationwide employment – which is a response we’re seeing from most of our clients as well. A majority of our clients are looking for quality candidates as their hiring freeze begins to thaw.


If you’re looking for executive-level candidates with 10+ years of experience and an ability to relocate, let’s get started.


Industry Specific Updates in August

Just as we’ve seen in the previous months, the sweeping employment generalization is led by a few key industries, while others take longer to resume regular employment capacities. Here’s a summary of employment by industry.

The top industries actively hiring are: Government, Retail Trade, and Business Services.

Government employment increased by 344,000 (inclusive of one quarter of monthly employment gain). Federal Government saw an increase of (+251,000) with local government rising by 95,000. A majority of hires account for temporary 2020 Census workers. The US Bureau of Labor Statics measures that government employment is 831k below its February level.

The retail industry gained 249,000 jobs in August. General merchandise accounted for 116,000 jobs. Motor vehicle and parts gained 22,000. Electronics and appliance stores gained 21,000 jobs. Still, employment in retail stores is 655k lower than in February.

Business and Professional services also highlight a significant increase of 197,000 jobs. More than 50 percent of these positions account for temporary help services (+107,000). Architecture accounts for 14,000 jobs. Support services account for 13,000 jobs. Business services is currently 1.5 million below February 2020.

Additional notable gains include the transportation and warehousing industries reflecting 74,000 jobs in August. Specific sectors include warehousing and storage (+34,000), ground passenger transportation (+11,000), and truck transportation (+10,000).

The bottom industries that are slower to resume regular employment include Mining, construction, and information industries.


Job Seeker’s Thoughts on Employment

2.1 million Americans continued to search for work in August – a number mildly unchanged month-over-month. The study reveals that the number of discouraged workers who believed that no jobs were available to them decreased by 130,000 in August leaving the remaining number at 535,000.


Overall hiring is trending upward for many businesses across the US. If you’re looking for executive level candidates consider the following resources:

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