The unemployment rate dropped to a 4.5 year low and job growth was less than expected in August as workers gave up the search for work, the U.S. Labor Department said Friday. The unemployment rate fell to 7.3 percent, the lowest since December 2008.
Economists had expected job gains of 180,000 last month and for the unemployment rate to hold steady at 7.4 percent, reported Reuters. Additionally, hiring was less than expected in August, with the job count for June and July revised to show 74,000 fewer positions added than previously reported.
"This morning's report tells a story of an economy slowly and steadily continuing to heal, with 169,000 new jobs added in August. We have now had 42 straight months of private-sector job growth, with nearly 7.5 million private-sector jobs created over that time. The unemployment rate (7.3 percent) continues to remain stable and has now been below 8 percent for twelve consecutive months," stated Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez in a release.
While overall employment dropped, the oil and gas industry saw gains, adding 193 jobs in May, 193 in June, 195 in July and 196 in August. As for employment by occupation, petroleum engineering grew the fastest, adding 19,880 jobs in 2012, with the geoscientist occupation adding 9,640 jobs.
As for geographic areas, Dallas and Houston's annual job growth rates ranked first and second among the largest metropolitan areas in July. From July 2012 to July 2013, local nonfarm employment in Dallas rose 3.7 percent, more than twice the national increase of 1.7 percent, reported the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. That among the 12 largest metropolitan areas in the country, Dallas ranked the first in the rate of job growth, noted Regional Commissioner Stanley W. Suchman.
The Dallas-Plano-Irving Metropolitan Division, which accounted for 70 percent of the area's workforce, added 77,500 jobs from July a year ago, a gain of 3.7 percent. Houston closely followed, up 3.6 percent.
"Many sectors are showing renewed signs of life, as we see job growth across the board," said Perez. "But we have to do more to pick up the pace of this recovery. We are not satisfied with an economy performing at anything less than its full potential. President Obama has proposed a better bargain for the middle class that will invigorate the economy and create jobs at a faster clip."
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