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All the key charts from today’s milquetoast US jobs report

A worker carries a bucket to clean windows outside a Burger King restaurant before it opens as protestors demonstrate outside, Thursday, Sept. 4, 2014, in Atlanta. Calling for higher pay and the right to form a union without retaliation, fast-food chain workers and community supporters in Atlanta protested Thursday as part of a wave of strikes and protests in 150 cities across the U.S. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
AP Photo/David Goldman
It hasn’t been an easy run for America’s workers in recent years.
By Matt Phillips
Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

So the US jobs report wasn’t great. Only 142,000 new jobs were created in August, and the unemployment rate fell to 6.1%. Here are all the key details you need to know.

Participation rate

This key number declined to 62.8%, from 62.9% the previous month. It’s now at levels not seen since the late 1970s.

Construction jobs

Another 20,000 construction jobs were created in August, and July’s were revised up to 31,000, from the originally reported 22,000.


Weak wage growth

Nominal wages rose just 2.5% in August. That’s the best increase since late 2010. But it’s still hardly anything after inflation.

Labor force shrinks

The unemployment rate fell to 6.1%, from 6.2% in July. But it fell for the wrong reasons, as labor force shrunk by 64,000.

Long-term unemployment

In a bit of good news the share of long-term unemployed has been shrinking among the jobless, which could indicate there is some hope that those who suffered long spells of unemployment may be able to return to the labor markets. It fell to 31% in August.

Some perspective

But long-term unemployment remains quite elevated when compared to recent history.

Workingman’s blues

The share of prime working-age men in the labor force continues to claw higher. That’s a good sign, which suggests that as the economy improves more people can participate. Still, it remains quite low by the standards of recent recessions and recoveries.

The bottom line

The share of working age Americans with jobs is rising, it hit 76.8% in August, up from 76.6% in July. But, again, it remains very low by recent standards. In other words, things are getting better. But it’s painfully slow going.

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