WASHINGTON — August employment was another dismal report as the U.S. posted an eighth consecutive month of job losses and the unemployment rate surged to recession levels.

August payrolls printed down 84,000 and civilian unemployment jumped 0.4 to 6.1%. The last time unemployment was as high was September 2003.

The last time there were eight consecutive months of payroll losses was 2002 in the aftermath of recession.

Unemployment surged across sexes but dipped for teens; worker labor force participation was steady so there are rising numbers of workers lacking jobs in a report with few quirks. An accompanying text said, “workers age 25 and over accounted for all of the increase in unemployment” and noted the sharpest increases were for adult women and less educated workers.

Payroll revisions totaled negative 58,000 for the June-July period.

The August payroll composition is familiar: manufacturing down 61,000, construction off 8,000, retail slid 20,000, and temporary jobs lost 37,000 in a third drop, with lesser losses in finance and leisure sectors.

There were signs of hope in health care, at plus-27,000 jobs, and local government, up 15,000 — practically the only areas of “strength.” The Bureau of Labor Statistics said health care jobs were growing in line with their average of the prior year.

Hours and wages rose in an otherwise dismal report. Average hourly earnings were up 0.4% for a 3.6% increase over the year, showing some ongoing wage pressures in the oil and utilities areas. These will probably edge out some gains in income and production reports ahead.

— Market News International

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