United States Unemployment August 2021

United States

United States: Labor market conditions improve in August, but at a more moderate pace

September 3, 2021

Total non-farm payrolls increased by 235,000 in August, following July’s 1,053,000 increase in payrolls. Employment gains occurred in transportation and warehousing, and in professional and business services.

The unemployment rate ticked down to 5.2% in August from 5.4% in July, and the labor force participation rate was stable at 61.7%, in August from the month prior. Hourly earnings rose 0.6% month-on-month in August (July: +0.4% mom), while annual wage growth accelerated to 4.3% from 4.1%.

On the reading and outlook, Katherine Judge, a senior economist at CIBC Economics, noted:

“We were already poised to pare back our H2 GDP growth forecast for 2021 and this adds to evidence in favor of such a move. Still, with a large percentage of the population vaccinated and booster shots on the way, we don't expect a deterioration as severe as seen during previous waves of Covid, and look for a reacceleration next spring when the current wave will be in the rear view mirror.”

FocusEconomics panelists expect the unemployment rate to average 5.4% in 2021, which is unchanged from last month’s forecast, and 4.2% in 2022.

Author:, Economist

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United States Unemployment Chart

United States Unemployment August 2021

Note: Month-on-month variation of non-farm payrolls in thousands and unemployment rate, seasonally adjusted in %.
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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