State of the Labor Market

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


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.