By now, most Americans know the U.S. economy created only 96,000 jobs in August, and that the report indicates slower-than-desired job growth.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics monthly report on job creation and the unemployment rate (8.1 percent last month, down from 9.1 percent a year earlier) is filled with hundreds of numbers measuring various nooks and crannies of the job market. Yet most of them are overlooked, at least by bloggers and mainstream media which generally focus on new jobs created and the overall jobless rate.
Here’s five others that are important to consider:
- People with a bachelor’s degree are much more likely to be in the workforce, and their jobless rate is much lower than others. In August it was 4.1 percent, versus 8.8 percent for those with high school degrees. (See Table A-4 in BLS report or use the find tool to locate “high school.”)
- Long-term jobless, those out of work 27 weeks or longer, are at higher risk of financial duress and also employer discrimination based on their unemployed status. Their number has fallen fairly steadily, but they still represent 40.XX percent of all jobless, or 5.0 million people in August. (Table A-12 or search for “long-term” in the report which is issued the first Friday of every month.)
- I didn’t realize that the BLS tracked self-employed individuals, but the data’s there. Some 8.8 million people are self-employed at unincorporated enterprises, and that’s up almost 200,000 in the last year.
- American’s average hourly wages are reported each month. For August, American workers earned on average $23.52 an hour, down a penny from July. (See Table B-3 for average wages by sector; the highest paid are utility workers at $31.35, the lowest are leisure and hospitality at $13.40.)
- Find out how your sector stacks up compared to others, in both job creation and in jobless rate. This is helpful for job-changers, but also for those, such as accountants or IT professionals, whose skills could be used in many industries. (Table A-14 shows the jobless rates by sector and B-1 gives a detailled breakdown of sectors which you can scan for the ones with positive job momentum.)