U.S. Workforce Analysis: August 2023 Update

I've updated our monthly workforce analysis to include the latest employment report for August. The unemployment rate rose to 3.8% and the number of new non-farm jobs (a relatively volatile number subject to extensive revisions) came in at 187K.

The Unemployment Rate

The closely watched headline unemployment rate is a calculation of the percentage of the civilian labor force, age 16 and older, that is currently unemployed. In the latest report, this indicator rose to 3.8%, its highest level since February 2022. The age 16+ population increased by 211,000 and the labor force increased by 736,000. The breakdown of the growth is an increase of 222,000 employed and an 514,000 increase in the unemployed. Let's put this metric into its historical context. The first chart below illustrates this monthly data point since 1990.

Unemployment Rate since 1990