More Americans Joined Labor Force in August as Participation Rate Remained Steady

Unemployment rate increased from 4.3 percent in July to 4.4 percent in August

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September 1, 2017

More Americans entered the labor force in August while the participation rate remained steady, according to the latest numbers released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The number of those in the civilian labor force increased from 160,494,000 in July to 160,571,000 in August, an increase of 77,000 individuals.

The labor force participation rate, which is the percentage of the population that has a job or actively looked for one in the past month, remained steady at 63 percent in August.

Over the month, the number of employed individuals declined and the number of unemployed individuals increased. Last month, there was a record high number of 153,513,000 Americans employed in July. This month that number declined to 153,439,000.

The number of unemployed individuals also increased from 6,981,000 individuals in July to 7,132,000 in August as the unemployment rate increased from 4.3 percent to 4.4 percent. The 4.3 percent unemployment rate seen in July was the lowest level seen in 16 years.

This measure does not account for those individuals who have dropped out of the labor forceā€”it simply measures the percent of those who did not have a job but actively sought one over the month.

The "real" unemployment rate, otherwise known as the U-6 measure, remained the same from the previous month at 8.6 percent.

There were 5,255,000 Americans working part-time in August who would rather have a full-time job but cited economic reasons for not having such employment. This number declined by 27,000 over the month.

According to the bureau, involuntary part-time workers are "persons who indicated that they would like to work full time but were working part time (1 to 34 hours) because of an economic reason, such as their hours were cut back or they were unable to find full-time jobs."