More Americans Are Looking for Work, But Not All Are Finding Jobs

In August the number of Americans in the labor force rose by 786,000, while the unemployment rate ticked up to 3.7 percent.

A man looks into a window affixed with a sign that reads "We Are Hiring!"
Job growth slowed in August. AFP via Getty Images

The U.S. added 315,000 jobs in August, according to the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics report. Job growth slowed last month compared to July, when the number of employed Americans grew by 528,000, and the unemployment rate ticked up to 3.7 percent.

This slowdown could be a welcome sign for the Federal Reserve, which has raised interest rates four times this year in an effort cool down the economy and address record-high inflation rates. The rising unemployment rate signals a bit of good news as well, as it’s tied to the rising labor force participation rate.

In August the number of Americans either working or actively looking for work rose by 786,000, bringing the labor force participation rate up to 62.4 percent. Not all people looking for jobs found them, which explains why unemployment climbed as well. The labor force participation rate for workers aged 25 to 54 is nearing its pre-pandemic level.

The increase in job seekers suggests workers who quit their jobs amid the Great Resignation may be coming back into the labor force. Fewer Americans are leaving their jobs, too. New BLS data released on Aug. 30 showed 4.2 million Americans quit their jobs in July, down from a record 4.5 million in November.

An additional data point in today’s report suggests one job isn’t sufficient for a growing number of Americans, even with the cost of goods like gas cooling slightly. The number of Americans holding multiple jobs rose to 7.5 million in August, up from 6.7 million last year.  More Americans Are Looking for Work, But Not All Are Finding Jobs