August jobs breakdown: Which industries hired the most workers last month?

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U.S. job growth continued to chug along at a steady pace in August, boosted by a flurry of hiring across different sectors of the economy. 

Employers added 187,000 jobs in August, the U.S. Department of Labor said in its monthly payroll report released Friday, topping the 170,000 jobs forecast by Refinitiv economists. 

At the same time, a separate report based on a survey of households offered a slightly different picture of the labor market. The report indicated that the unemployment rate climbed to 3.8% from 3.5% as the labor force participation rate rose to a nearly three-year high. It marked the highest jobless rate since February 2022 and the biggest increase since the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Job gains were mostly broad-based last month, with the health care industry leading the way. The sector added 70,900 new jobs last month, following a similar gain in July.

“Hiring remains solid across the economy and many firms still point to finding skilled labor as their primary challenge despite a cooling in the overall pace of job creation,” said Joe Brusuelas, RSM chief economist.


Hospitals accounted for a large percentage of those gains, adding 14,500 workers in August. There were also notable gains in the offices of physicians (14,100), home health care services (11,200) and outpatient care centers (5,000).

Hiring in leisure and hospitality was the second-biggest contributor to the job gain last month. The sector hired 40,000 employees in August, with the biggest gains stemming from restaurants and bars (14,900). Hotels, meanwhile, onboarded 8,600 new employees.


Employment in the sector remains below its pre-pandemic level by about 290,000 workers, or 1.7%. 

Another big source of job creation in August was social assistance, which saw payrolls increase by 26,400. Individual and family services accounted for the bulk of those gains, adding 20,500 workers. There was also a modest increase in child care services (3,300) and vocational rehabilitation services (1,400).

Hiring increased in other industries, including construction (22,000), professional and business services (19,000), manufacturing (16,000) and government (8,000).

However, there were also sectors of the economy that shed jobs last month. Transportation and warehousing saw employment plunge by 34,200 – largely the result of trucking giant Yellow halting operations and laying off 30,000 employees. 

The information sector shed 15,000 jobs, while employment within mining and logging fell by 2,000.

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