Other sectors affected as trucking company shutdown, Hollywood strikes skew national figures.
Health care was on a tear adding jobs in August, but the national unemployment rate increased at the same time.
The health care sector added 70,900 jobs last month as the overall jobless rate crept up by 0.3 percentage points from July, reaching 3.8% in August, according to the latest figures published Sept. 1 by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) in the U.S. Department of Labor. The number of people without jobs rose by 514,000 to 6.4 million, still close to August 2022 rates of 3.7% and 6 million unemployed, according to BLS. A trucking company closure and the Hollywood writers and actors strike affected the August totals.
Gains in the health sector included 40,000 jobs in ambulatory health care services, 17,000 new posts in nursing and residential care facilities, and 15,000 jobs in hospitals.
Physicians’ offices added 14,100 workers and home health services grew by 11,200. Offices of other health practitioners increased by 8,100 jobs, while outpatient care centers brought on 5,000 workers, other ambulatory health care services added 2,800 positions, and medical and diagnostic laboratories grew by 1,200.
Offices of dentists posted the only decrease, losing 2,500 jobs in August, according to BLS.
Leisure and hospitality grew by 40,000 workers. That sector has gained an average of 61,000 jobs a month in the past year, but the overall employment remains below pre-pandemic levels of February 2020 by 290,000 workers, or 1.7%.
Social assistance added 26,000 jobs in August, in line with the 12-month average gain of 22,000 jobs, according to BLS.
Construction gained 22,000 jobs, topping average monthly gains of 17,000 jobs in the last 12 months. In that sector, specialty trade contractors grew by 11,000 and heavy and civil engineering construction increased by 7,000 jobs.
Transportation and warehousing lost 34,000 jobs, led by a 37,000 decrease in truck transportation, “largely reflecting a business closure,” according to BLS. The government report did not name the business, but national news outlets reported on the closure and bankruptcy filing of 99-year-old Yellow Corp., which cut an estimated 30,000 jobs.
Professional and business services added 19,000 jobs; employment grew by 21,000 jobs in professional, scientific, and technical services, but temporary help services dropped by 19,000, adding to a decline of 242,000 jobs since peaking in March 2022.
Information employment dropped by 15,000, led by a 17,000 drop in jobs in motion picture and sound recording industries, “reflecting strike activity,” according to BLS. The Writers Guild of America and Screen Actors Guild members continue striking for “better pay, success-based residuals for streaming content, and regulations regarding the use of artificial intelligence,” according to CBS News.