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The Need For More and Better Jobs

Adam Hersh writes on the concentration of new jobs in low-wage industries.

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idea light bulbHiring in the United States slowed dramatically in August, according to new data released today by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, or BLS. This provides a sobering reminder that—despite 47 straight months of job gains—the labor market is not yet creating enough jobs for all who want work, nor quality jobs that lead to a middle-class livelihood.

Private employers added 134,000 jobs in August, while the public sector added another 8,000 jobs. Headline unemployment ticked down 0.1 percentage points to 6.1 percent, but this decrease was due to fewer people actively looking for work rather than an actual increase in employment.

Last month, 9.6 million people were counted as unemployed, 2.1 million were not counted as unemployed but are ready and willing to work, and another 7.3 million were employed in part-time work. These numbers indicate that private employers’ demand for workers is not creating enough opportunities for all those who want to work. Disproportionately higher than the rate for the overall population, the unemployment rate for African Americans held constant at 11.4 percent in August, while the rate for Latinos fell 0.3 percentage points to 7.5 percent.

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