Where The August Jobs Were: Who Is Hiring And Who Isn't... And The Retail Apocalypse

Whether today's payrolls report was "stagflationary" or simply lousy, is debatable, but with just 96K private payrolls created in August (government added 34K jobs, the best "job category" in the month) one thing is certain: this was the 4th lowest private jobs print in the past 3 years.

And yet, if one looks at the various job sectors, the emerging picture is hardly a dismal one, with 9 industries adding jobs, and 4 losing.

Some of the highlights: US manufacturers continued to add jobs, though at a slower pace with August factory payrolls rising 3,000 after a downwardly revised 4,000. Meanwhile, the leading indicator for future job growth, temporary help agency employment, jumped by 15,400 after falling the previous three months and raising concerns of broader labor-market weakness.

Separately, government added 34K jobs, "not great, not terrible", while low paying jobs in the education and health category were the second biggest addition in August, at 32,000; meanwhile Professional, Business and Service jobs added 21.6K (ex-temp). Below is a visual breakdown of all the main categories:

Looking at wage growth, below is the 3 month annualized growth in average hourly earnings in select industries:

  • Financial activities  5.2%
  • Information  5.1%
  • Wholesale trade  4.7%
  • Professional and business services  4.5%
  • Transportation and warehousing  4.5%
  • Retail trade  4.5%
  • Trade, transportation, and utilities  4.5%

Finally, digging into the numbers above, below we show the fine detail level for industries with the highest and lowest rates of employment growth for the most recent month.

But the big surprise - or perhaps not - was retail, where the Amazonification of America is accelerating, in the process destroying the legacy brick and mortar sector, which peaked in Jan 2017, and has lost jobs for 7 consecutive months, and 8 of the past 9, as the legacy retail sector is getting gutted.