The unemployment rate changed slightly to 7.3 percent in August, adding 169,000 jobs to payroll over the month. Job growth primarily occurred in the retail trade and healthcare sectors, specifically in clothing stores, food and beverage stores, and ambulatory care services. Employment also rose in professional and business services and wholesale trade, while employment decreased in information. Employment in other major industries such as construction, transportation and financial activities showed little or no change over the month.
The slight drop in the unemployment rate doesn’t necessarily reflect a healthy market though. The labor force participation rate dropped to a startling 63.2 percent in August. This number reflects the percentage of people over sixteen who are either employed or are actively searching for work. This rate has not been seen this low since 1978. The shrinking labor force could be attributed to baby boomers retiring but there are beliefs that the lack of good jobs is what is leading Americans to give up looking for work.