US Adds 315,000 Jobs as Participation Jumps and Wages Rise

(Bloomberg) — US employers added jobs at a healthy, yet more moderate pace in August, and participation posted a sizable increase, offering little evidence of any kind of definitive slowdown despite a jump in unemployment.

Nonfarm payrolls increased 315,000 last month following a revised 526,000 advance in July, a Labor Department report showed Friday. The unemployment rate unexpectedly rose to 3.7% as the participation rate climbed.

Economists projected an almost 300,000 gain in payrolls and a 3.5% jobless rate, based on the median estimates in a Bloomberg survey.

Despite moderating job growth, the still-solid employment gain points to a healthy appetite for labor amid high inflation, rising interest rates and an uncertain economic outlook. Such demand, along with repeated pay raises, continues to underpin consumer spending, making the Federal Reserve’s task of slowing down the economy to tame the worst inflation in decades even more difficult.

However, the pickup in participation, along with a deceleration in monthly wage growth, is likely welcome news for the Fed.

Short-term Treasury yields fell, while S&P 500 futures rose and the dollar extended losses on the day. Investors slightly pared bets that the Fed will raise interest rates by 75 basis points at its meeting later this month, though traders continued to see that as the most likely outcome, with about a 60% probability priced in.

The labor force participation rate — the share of the population that is working or looking for work — advanced to 62.4%, and the rate for workers ages 25-54 rose by the most since June 2020 to 82.8%. Teen participation also surged.

The job gains were led by professional and business services, health care and retail trade. Leisure and hospitality posted the smallest payrolls gain since a decline in December 2020.

 

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