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August 2023 Market Trends Report

A worker in a yellow vest and hard hat looks up, beyond a surveying tool, at a worksite

The U.S. economy added 187,000 jobs in July while the unemployment rate stepped down to 3.5 percent, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Employment Situation Summary. 

Construction firms (+19,000) reported another month of growth for employees on payrolls in July, while manufacturing firms reported a loss of 2,200 jobs in July. Meanwhile, the warehousing & storage sector reported losses again, purging 5,600 jobs according to the BLS. 

Job openings fall across industrial sectors

The latest Job Opportunities and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) report, which runs a month behind the BLS Employment Situation Summary, showed there were 9.6 million job openings on the last business day of June. Total separations, including quits, layoffs, discharges and other separations decreased by 288,000 to 5.6 million. Meanwhile, hires decreased by 326,000 to 5.9 million.

In June, job openings decreased across industrial sectors including a slight decrease in construction (-5,000) and larger decreases in manufacturing (-26,000) and transportation, warehousing and utilities (-78,000).

Hires also fell in June, according to the JOLTS report, in construction (-35,000), manufacturing (-18,000) and transportation, warehousing and utilities (-49,000).

Jobs Market Overview: July 2023


Overall Unemployment Rate

Unemployment continues to stay within 2022’s range of 3.5% to 3.7%.


Jobs Added

July monthly gains marked the 31st consecutive month of job gains.


Labor Force Participation Rate

The labor force participation rate has stayed at 62.6% for five straight months.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Situation Summary (bls.gov/news.release/empsit.nr0.htm)

Industry Employment Trends




Monthly Job Change

(+2.2% YoY Difference)

Industry Monthly Job Change YoY Difference
Manufacturing -2.2k +1.0%
Automotive -2.2k +5.5%
Warehouse & Storage -5.6k -2.9%
Architectural & Engineering +800 +4.3
Construction +19k +2.5%
Consumer Services (Restaurants, Retail, Hospitality) +36.2k  +2.5% 

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Situation Summary (bls.gov/news.release/empsit.nr0.htm)

Sector by Sector: July 2023


The construction sector added jobs in July, but the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows job openings and hires ticked down in June. 

According to BLS, employment growth in the construction sector came from growth reported in the nonresidential building construction (+10,500), heavy and civil engineering construction (+2,200) and residential specialty trades contractors (+13,300) subsectors. Residential building construction firms reported losing 5,500 jobs in the month of July.

The latest JOLTS Report showed construction job openings and hires decrease in June compared to May. Still, average hourly earnings for production and nonsupervisory employees in construction—covering most onsite craft workers as well as many office workers—jumped by 5.8 percent over the year to $34.24 per hour. Construction firms in July provided a wage “premium” of just over 18 percent compared to the average hourly earnings for all private-sector production employees, according to the Associated General Contractors of America.


In manufacturing, durable goods manufacturers gained 8,000 jobs while nondurable goods manufacturers lost 10,000 jobs. Notable subsector gains in July included transportation equipment manufacturing (+5,600) and computer and electronic product manufacturing (+2,500).

The PMI Manufacturing Index registered at 46.4% in July, the ninth month below 50. A reading below 50 signals a contraction in the industry growth.

The latest job openings and hires data showed manufacturing job openings and hires decrease in June compared to May.

Warehousing & Storage 

According to BLS, employment in the transportation & warehousing sector fell by 8,400 in July, including a dive of 5,600 jobs in the warehousing and storage subsector. The air transportation subsector reported gains of 2,700 employees on payrolls in July.

Employment in the warehousing and storage sector has remained at or above 1.9 million since February 2022. The Logistics Manager Index reported a 45.4 rating in July. It is the third consecutive month of contraction for the overall index and the fifth consecutive month that the index has reached a new all-time low.

The latest job openings and hires data showed transportation, warehousing and utilities job openings and hires decrease in June compared to May.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Situation Summary (bls.gov/news.release/empsit.nr0.htm)

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