SNAP Participation Rises By 271k

The number of Americans receiving assistance from the Supplementary Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), previously known as food stamps, increased by 271k in June.

Participants Change

A total of 46.496 million people participated in the program.


The number of SNAP participants as a ratio of the total employed persons was 31.80%, up from 31.67% in May.

Participants to Employed

The average monthly benefit received per person in June was $124.13, down from $125.15.

Cost Change


The total cost of the SNAP program in June was $5.772 billion, down from $5.785 billion in May. The annual cost of the SNAP program (rolling 12 months) was $71.646 billion, down from $72.221 billion.

Annual Cost

U.S. Economy Adds 142k Jobs In August

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported this morning that 142k nonfarm payrolls were added during the month of August. This follows revised payrolls gains of 212k in July and 267k in June.


A bulk of the August job gains came in the Professional Services and Education and Health Services industries.

Payrolls Industry

Along with Leisure and Hospitality, these 3 industries have contributed the most to the job gains over the last 8 years. Although Construction employment grew in August, it and the Manufacturing industry have had the most difficulty recovering from the economic downturn.

Industry Jobs Change

The household survey shows that 367k full-time jobs were added in August, while part-time employment decreased by 327k. Since November 2007 however, when the household survey showed peak employment, full-time jobs have decreased by 3.3 million and part-time jobs have increased by 3.0 million.

FTPT Change

Part-time employees made up 18.96% of the workforce in August, down from 19.18% in July.

Part-time Share

Those part-time for economic reasons, workers who would prefer to be full-time but are involuntarily part-time, as a share of those part-time for noneconomic reasons decreased to 37.3% from 38.2%.

PT Economic Reasons

The unemployment rate (U-3) was 6.1% in August, down from 6.2% in July. The broader underemployment rate (U-6) decreased to 12.0% from 12.2%.

Unemployment Rate

Youth unemployment continues to be volatile.

Unemployment Rate Age

Unemployment for those with a high school diploma or some college has increased in consecutive months.

Unemployment Rate Education

Blacks continue to experience the highest unemployment rate at 11.4%.

Unemployment Rate Race

The labor force participation rate was 62.8%, down from 62.9%, while the employment-to-population ratio was unchanged at 59.0%.

Labor Force Participation

Participation among men decreased to 69.2% from 69.3% and participation among women was unchanged at 56.9%.

Participation by Sex

The participation rate for prime age workers (25-54) increased to 81.1% from 80.8%.

Participation Rates Age

However, since the total participation rate peaked in August 2008, participation has only risen in the 55+ age bracket.

Participation Rates Change

Average weekly hours worked by production and supervisory employees were unchanged at 33.7, while average hourly earnings increased to $20.68 from $20.62. This increased average weekly earnings to $696.92, up 2.4% from a year ago.

Earnings Growth


Average duration of unemployment in August was 31.7 weeks, down from 32.4 in July and the high of 40.7 in 2011, but still elevated by historical standards.

Unemployment Weeks Duration

Of those unemployed, 46.8% have been so for 15 weeks or longer.

Unemployment Duration

Overall, this was not a great employment report as the number of job additions was low, but there were some silver linings: The new jobs were overwhelmingly full-time positions, the length of time people are staying unemployed is shortening, and labor force participation increased for prime age workers.

Q2 Productivity Growth Revised Down

U.S. labor productivity increased at an annual rate of 2.3% during the second quarter, a downward revision from the previous estimate of a 2.5% increase, but still a sharp shift up from the revised 4.5% rate of decrease in the first quarter. Labor productivity is up 1.1% from the same period last year.


Output increased at an annual rate of 5.0% during Q2, a revision down from the prior estimate of 5.2% growth, but well above the 2.4% rate of decrease in Q1. Output is up 3.2% from the same period last year.


Labor hours increased at an annual rate of 2.6% during Q2, a revision down from the prior estimate of 2.7% growth, but higher than the 2.1% rate of increase in Q1. Labor hours are up 2.0% from the same period last year.

Labor Hours

Hourly compensation increased at an annual rate of 2.3% during Q2, a revision down from the prior estimate of a 3.1% increase, and lower than the 6.6% rate of increase in Q1. Hourly compensation is up 2.1% from the same period last year.

Hourly Compensation

Real (inflation-adjusted) hourly compensation decreased at an annual rate of 0.7% during Q2, a revision down from the prior estimate of a 0.1% increase, and down from the 4.6% rate of increase in Q1. Real hourly compensation is up 0.8% from the same period last year.

Real Hourly Compensation

Unit labor costs decreased at an annual rate of 0.1% during Q2, a revision down from the prior estimate of a 0.6% rate of increase, and well below the 11.6% rate of increase in Q1. Unit labor costs are up 1.7% from the same period last year.

Unit Labor Costs

The table below shows the breakdown across sectors.

Productivity Table

U.S. Trade Deficit Narrows Further To $40.5 Billion In July

The U.S. international trade deficit during the month of July was $40.5 billion. That is down from a $40.8 billion deficit in June, and is the lowest the deficit has been since January.

Trade Balance

Exports for the month totaled $198.0 billion, up from $196.2 billion. Exports of goods increased to $138.6 billion from $136.8 billion and exports of services increased slightly to $59.4 billion.


Imports for the month totaled $238.6 billion, down from $237.0 billion. Imports of goods increased to $198.8 billion from $197.2 billion and imports of services increased marginally to $39.8 billion.


The chart below shows the rolling 12-month trade balance as a percentage of exports (during the same period) to provide better perspective of the relative size of the deficit over time.

Trade Stability

Weekly Initial Jobless Claims Increase To 302k

Initial jobless claims for the week ending August 30 were a seasonally adjusted 302k, up from the prior week’s revised reading of 298k. Not seasonally adjusted, jobless claims for the week were 249k.

Jobless Claims

The 4-week moving average of initial jobless claims is 303k.

Jobless Claims Long

The insured unemployment rate was 1.9%, unchanged from the week prior.

Insured Unemployment

The number of unemployment insurance recipients, or continuing claims, for regular state programs was 2.464 million, down from the previous week’s revised reading of 2.528 million and the lowest since June 2007.

Unemployment Insurance Recipients

Individual states that had changes in claims of more than 1k (not seasonally adjusted):


Jobless claims and the unemployment rate:

Labor Market

ADP Sees 204k Jobs Added In August

ADP reports that U.S. nonfarm private sector employment increased by 204k in the month of August. This follows revised increases of 212k in July and 297k in June.

“August marks the fifth straight month of employment gains above 200,000, continuing an encouraging trend for the U.S. labor market,” said Carlos Rodriguez, president and chief executive officer of ADP.

Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody’s Analytics, said, “Steady as she goes in the job market. Businesses continue to hire at a solid pace. Job gains are broad based across industries and company sizes. At the current pace of job growth the economy will return to full employment by the end of 2016.”


Total nonfarm private employment by company size:

Company Size Change

Company Size

Change in total nonfarm private employment by industry:

Industry Change


The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics will release its employment situation report on Friday with much more detail about the labor market.

Light Vehicle Sales Increase To Annual Rate Of 17.53 Million In August

Autodata reports in its preliminary reading for the month of August that light weight motor vehicle sales were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 17.53 million. This is a jump from the final July reading of a SAAR of 16.40 million as reported by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.

Vehicle Sales

The August sales rate is up 10.5% from the same period last year. The 3-month moving average of year over year growth is 7.3%.

Vehicle Sales Growth