I’ll have a lot more to say in the coming weeks about the relationships between the weak labor market, reasonable economic expectations, fiscal and monetary policy, and this November’s election.

But just a few basics in this post, as released this morning in the Bureau of Labor Statistics initial estimates for August:

Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 96,000 in August, and the unemployment rate edged down to 8.1 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Employment increased in food services and drinking places, in professional and technical services, and in health care. [. . .]

Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 96,000 in August. Since the beginning of this year,
employment growth has averaged 139,000 per month, compared with an average monthly gain of 153,000 in 2011. In August, employment rose in food services and drinking places, in professional and technical services, and in health care. (See table B-1.)

Employment in food services and drinking places increased by 28,000 in August and by 298,000 over the past 12 months.

Employment in professional and technical services rose in August (+27,000). Job gains occurred in computer systems design and related services (+11,000) and management and technical consulting services (+9,000).

Health care employment rose by 17,000 in August. Ambulatory health care services and hospitals added 14,000 and 6,000 jobs, respectively. From June through August, job growth in health care averaged 15,000 per month, compared with an average monthly gain of 28,000 in the prior 12 months.

After rising for a number of months the U-6 measure of unemployment fell in August to 14.7% from 15.0% in July. (U-6: “Total unemployed, plus all persons marginally attached to the labor force, plus total employed part time for economic reasons, as a percent of the civilian labor force plus all persons marginally attached to the labor force.”)

This is a disappointing report, despite the decline in the unemployment rate.

Here’s a graph from Calculated Risk:

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