The U.S. employment numbers for the last few months have been ok. Not good or great, but generally trending in the right direction. Back in July, the U.S. Department of Labor revealed that unemployment insurance benefits dropped by 48,000 from the same month in 2012. Last month, the Labor Department released the good news that jobless claims are down to a five-year low. With just under 4.7 million Americans claiming unemployment benefits at the end of July, claims were down over 154,000 from that same week one year ago.
Today, the Bureau of Labor statistics released the latest unemployment numbers and they are once again ok. Total unemployment in the U.S. changed little month-over-month. An estimated 11.3 million Americans are out of work and the unemployment rate is hanging a 7.3%, down from 7.4% last month and 8.1% this time last year.
Hiring for the past month was also ok, with 169,000 new jobs added in August. Though this number fell short of previous estimates, it represents slight progress on the employment front. Most of the new hires came in the retail and health care sectors, while the bureau's information category saw declines in employment numbers. 44,000 jobs alone were added in retail last month, adding to the 393,000 retail jobs created over the past year.
Long-term unemployment (those out of work for at least 27 weeks) also saw little change over the past month, though that number has dropped by 733,000 year-over-year. Those who are considered long-term unemployed currently make up around 38% (4.3 million Americans) of the total unemployed numbers.