State of the Labor Market

August Jobs Report: Labor Market Plateau, Blue Collar Jobs Bright Spot

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It’s hard to be enthusiastic about today’s jobs report. Broader measures of unemployment and participation now are stuck at the levels they’ve held for the past several months. It’s now a bit harder to argue that slack remains.

Plus, wage growth slowed, especially after taking into account which industries grew fastest in August. Lower-wage industries like leisure/hospitality and retail had minimal job gains.

But there was a big bright blue spot: August job gains were led by mining, construction, and manufacturing, three blue-collar industries.

Overall, the household survey points to a possible plateau in the labor market. But the growth in blue-collar jobs, especially manufacturing, is good news for many workers and struggling local markets.

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