August Unemployment Rate Jumps, Employment in June and July Revised Downward

Craig Bannister | September 1, 2023
Text Audio
00:00 00:00
Font Size

In August, the unemployment rate jumped 0.3 points, from 3.5% 3.8%, as the number of long-term unemployed increased, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported Friday.

The nation’s unemployment rate jumped 0.3 percentage point to 3.8% in August, as the number of unemployed persons increased by 514,000 to 6.4 million.

Among the unemployed, the number of job losers and persons who completed temporary jobs increased by 294,000 to 2.9 million in August, offsetting a decrease of 280,000 in July.

The rise in the unemployment rate, coupled an increase in job losers, highlights ongoing challenges in the economy. Meanwhile, the number of persons employed part-time for economic reasons remained unchanged.

Key economic measures for August:

  • The number of unemployed persons increased by 514,000 from July.
  • Increases were recorded in both the number of persons unemployed less than 5 weeks, at 2.2 million, and the number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more), at 1.3 million.
  • The long-term unemployed accounted for 20.3% of all unemployed persons.
  • Labor force participation rate rose by 0.2 percentage points, to 62.8%.


By sector:

  • Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 187,000.
  • Employment continued to trend up in sectors like health care, leisure and hospitality, social assistance, and construction.
  • Employment in transportation and warehousing fell.


By demographic group:

  • Unemployment rates for adult men, whites, and Asians rose
  • Rates for adult women, teenagers, Blacks, and Hispanics showed little change


The increases in health care, leisure and hospitality, social assistance, and construction continue a positive trend, as these industries have been leading the way in job growth. However, there was a decline in employment in the transportation and warehousing sector, which could be attributed to various factors such as supply chain disruptions and labor shortages.

The rise in the unemployment rate was primarily driven by an increase in the number of unemployed persons, which now stands at 6.4 million, after increasing by more than a half million from July.

Adding to concerns, the BLS reported that the economy’s picture in recent months wasn’t as rosy as it initially reported:

  • Total nonfarm payroll employment for June was revised down by 80,000, from +185,000 to +105,000.
  • July was revised down by 30,000, from +187,000 to +157,000.
  • Due to these revisions, employment in June and July combined was actually 110,000 lower than previously reported.
  • The downward revisions make August look better in comparison, by comparing it to lower numbers in June and July.


The September employment report is scheduled to be released October 6, 2023.

The business and economic reporting of CNSNews is funded in part with a gift made in memory of Dr. Keith C. Wold.