Here we go again.  How in the world can we produce less than adequate employment opportunities to sustain the workforce, and yet continue to drive the unemployment rate downward? Pure manipulation.  BLS’s latest report on the employment situation outlines the specifics.  The headline Obama will grab on to will be the drop in rate from 8.3 to 8.1%, but how is this possible when both June and July were revised downward, along with a much lower than expected output for August?  I’ll be interested in seeing if we break the 8% mark in September as a political tact.

THE EMPLOYMENT SITUATION — AUGUST 2012

Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 96,000 in August, and the unemployment
rate edged down to 8.1 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today.
Employment increased in food services and drinking places, in professional and
technical services, and in health care.

Household Survey Data

The unemployment rate edged down in August to 8.1 percent. Since the beginning of
this year, the rate has held in a narrow range of 8.1 to 8.3 percent. The number of
unemployed persons, at 12.5 million, was little changed in August. (See table A-1.)

Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult men (7.6 percent),
adult women (7.3 percent), teenagers (24.6 percent), whites (7.2 percent), blacks
(14.1 percent), and Hispanics (10.2 percent) showed little or no change in August.
The jobless rate for Asians was 5.9 percent (not seasonally adjusted), little
changed from a year earlier. (See tables A-1, A-2, and A-3.)

In August, the number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more)
was little changed at 5.0 million. These individuals accounted for 40.0 percent of
the unemployed. (See table A-12.)

Both the civilian labor force (154.6 million) and the labor force participation rate
(63.5 percent) declined in August. The employment-population ratio, at 58.3 percent,
was little changed. (See table A-1.)

The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons (sometimes referred to
as involuntary part-time workers) was little changed at 8.0 million in August. These
individuals were working part time because their hours had been cut back or because
they were unable to find a full-time job. (See table A-8.)

In August, 2.6 million persons were marginally attached to the labor force,
essentially unchanged from a year earlier. (These data are not seasonally adjusted.)
These individuals were not in the labor force, wanted and were available for work,
and had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months. They were not counted as
unemployed because they had not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey.
(See table A-16.)

Among the marginally attached, there were 844,000 discouraged workers in August, a
decline of 133,000 from a year earlier. (These data are not seasonally adjusted.)
Discouraged workers are persons not currently looking for work because they believe
no jobs are available for them. The remaining 1.7 million persons marginally attached
to the labor force in August had not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the
survey for reasons such as school attendance or family responsibilities. (See
table A-16.)

Establishment Survey Data

Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 96,000 in August. Since the beginning of
this year, employment growth has averaged 139,000 per month, compared with an average
monthly gain of 153,000 in 2011. In August, employment rose in food services and
drinking places, in professional and technical services, and in health care. (See
table B-1.)

Employment in food services and drinking places increased by 28,000 in August and by
298,000 over the past 12 months.

Employment in professional and technical services rose in August (+27,000). Job gains
occurred in computer systems design and related services (+11,000) and management and
technical consulting services (+9,000).

Health care employment rose by 17,000 in August. Ambulatory health care services and
hospitals added 14,000 and 6,000 jobs, respectively. From June through August, job
growth in health care averaged 15,000 per month, compared with an average monthly
gain of 28,000 in the prior 12 months.

Utilities employment increased in August (+9,000). The increase reflects the return
of utility workers who were off payrolls in July due to a labor-management dispute.

Within financial activities, finance and insurance added 11,000 jobs in August.
Employment in wholesale trade continued to trend up. Employment in temporary help
services changed little over the month and has shown little movement, on net, since
February.

Manufacturing employment edged down in August (-15,000). A decline in motor vehicles
and parts (-8,000) partially offset a gain in July. Auto manufacturers laid off fewer
workers for factory retooling than usual in July, and fewer workers than usual were
recalled in August.

Employment in other major industries, including mining and logging, construction,
retail trade, transportation and warehousing, information, and government, showed
little change over the month.

The average workweek for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls was unchanged at
34.4 hours in August. The manufacturing workweek declined by 0.2 hour to 40.5 hours,
and factory overtime was unchanged at 3.2 hours. The average workweek for production
and nonsupervisory employees on private nonfarm payrolls was unchanged at 33.7 hours.
(See tables B-2 and B-7.)

In August, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls edged
down by 1 cent to $23.52. Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings rose by
1.7 percent. In August, average hourly earnings of private-sector production and
nonsupervisory employees edged down by 1 cent to $19.75. (See tables B-3 and B-8.)

The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for June was revised from +64,000 to
+45,000, and the change for July was revised from +163,000 to +141,000.