JOBS

Decreased

33,000 jobs

were lost in Sept., worse than the 172,333 average jobs added over the previous three months.

UNEMPLOYMENT

Decreased to

4.2 percent

This is below the Federal Reserve’s full employment benchmark, which is 4.7 percent.

Hourly wages

Increased to

$26.55

Average earnings for private sector workers have increased 2.9 percent in the last year.

Overall, the economy was doing pretty well at the end of Barack Obama’s presidency, and it has remained strong into the beginning of President Trump’s first term. Here’s how Trump compares to other presidents on the number of jobs added:

Jobs added under each president

Bill Clinton
Jobs added: 22.9 million
Monthly average: 239,000

George W. Bush
Jobs added: 1.3 million
Monthly average: 14,000

Barack Obama
Jobs added: 11.5 million
Monthly average: 120,000

Donald Trump
Jobs added: 1,118,000
Monthly average: 139,750

June to Sept. 2017
average:
172,333

Recession

Recession

Workers in some fields are still struggling

In the last year, the unemployment rate has fallen for workers in most fields, but the percent of those looking for jobs in small industries with fewer workers is generally more volatile. Mining, oil and gas only employs about 600,000 workers, while the three largest categories — education and health, government and business services — employ more than 20 million workers each. Business services includes lawyers, accountants, and other professionals.

Change in jobs by industry from Sept. 2016 to Sept. 2017

Sector
Jobs
Jobs added
Unemp. change
Unemp.
rate
1. Education and health
23.2 million
 472,000
3.4%
2. Government
22.3 million
 21,000
2.1%
3. Business services
20.8 million
 528,000
4.1%
4. Leisure and hospitality
15.9 million
 189,000
5%
5. Retail
15.8 million
 -78,000
4.1%
6. Manufacturing
12.4 million
 117,000
3.8%
7. Finance
8.5 million
 149,000
2.5%
8. Construction
6.9 million
 184,000
4.7%
9. Wholesale trade
5.9 million
 55,000
4.1%
10. Goods transportation
5.1 million
 110,000
4.4%
11. Publishing and data
2.7 million
 -79,000
5.1%
12. Mining, oil and gas
672,000
 62,000
3%
13. Utilities
553,000
 -3,000
2%

Unemployment has dropped by half since 2009

The traditional unemployment rate — known by government statisticians as the U-3 rate — counts only those who are unemployed and actively looking for work. But it doesn't include people who have given up looking for work, so-called discouraged workers, or those who are working part time but would like to be full time. The U-6 rate does incorporate those workers.

Comparing two unemployment rates

U-6 rate:

U-3 rate:

Recession

Wages are still growing slowly

12-month percent change in average hourly wages


Recession

As the economy heats up and companies create more jobs, employers should eventually have a harder time finding the caliber of workers that they want. To attract good workers, companies in theory have to offer pay increases. But while the economy is performing well overall, workers currently aren’t seeing their wages rise very much — a disappointment for many Americans who are looking to make up for ground lost during the recession. Average earnings for private sector workers was $26.55 in Sept..

Labor force participation has begun to recover from historic lows

Labor force participation for workers 25-54 years old


Recession

The labor force participation rate tracks the percent of the population that is either currently working or actively looking for work. The rate has steadily declined for workers between 25 and 54 years old since its peak in the late 1990s, in large part due to changes in the makeup of the U.S. population. However, the rate began to bounce back in 2015 as the economy recovered from the recession.

“People think this sharp drop is just the lousy economy and people giving up, but it’s a lot more complicated,” said Steven F. Hipple, an economist at the BLS. “There are a lot of underlying reasons why people aren’t working.”

Many Americans have left the workforce, and more baby boomers are set to retire

At least 100 million Americans do not work but most are not trying to find a job. Studies have shown half to two-thirds of the rise in non-participation is due to demographic changes as baby boomers reach retirement age and teenagers choose to focus on school rather than working part time. In the next few years, millions more baby boomers will retire out of the workforce, so the U.S. may never have as many workers as it did in the 1990s. For every 100 residents, here’s how many aren’t working:

IN THE WORKFORCE

48 Work full time

11 Work part time

3 Unemployed and actively looking for a job

OUT OF THE WORKFORCE

17 Retired

 

6 Ill or on disability

6 In school

5 Home responsibilities

2 Want to work but haven’t looked for a job

1 Another reason*

1 In prison*

1 Active duty Armed Forces*

1 Nursing home resident*

* Due to rounding, percents do not equal 100: 0.6 percent of Americans are out of the workforce for another reason or in prison and 0.5 percent are in the Armed Forces or in a nursing home.

IN THE WORKFORCE

48 Work full time

11 Work part time

3 Unemployed and actively looking for a job

OUT OF THE WORKFORCE

17 Retired

 

6 Ill or on disability

6 In school

5 Home responsibilities

2 Want to work but haven’t looked for a job in past month

1 Another reason*

1 In prison*

1 Active duty Armed Forces*

1 Nursing home resident*

* Due to rounding, percents do not equal 100: 0.6 percent of Americans are out of the workforce for another reason or in prison and 0.5 percent are in the Armed Forces or in a nursing home.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

About this graphic

Jobs, unemployment, wage and labor force data from Bureau of Labor Statistics. Newest numbers are preliminary and will be revised in coming months. Recessions data from the Federal Reserve Bank. Workforce participation data from Current Population Survey Public-Use Micro Data Files (2016), Department of Defense (2016), National Center for Health Statistics (2014), and Bureau of Justice Statistics (2015).

Originally published June 2, 2017.

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