The official BLS seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for August 2021 is 5.2%. That unemployment rate is lower than the 5.4% in July and substantially less than the 8.5% unemployment rate of August 2020.

If one considers the total number of unemployed + those marginally attached to the labor force + those working part-time who want full-time work, the unemployment rate in August was 8.8%, down from 9.2% in July and substantially less than 14.3% a year earlier.

The Labor Force Participation Rate (LFPR) is 61.7%, up from 61.6% in July 2021.

The Demographics of Unemployment for August 2021

Unemployment by Gender (20 years and older)

  • Women –4.2% (down from last month)
  • Men –4.4% (down from last month)
  • Unemployment by Race
  • White – 4.5% (down from last month)
  • Black – 8.8% (up from last month)
  • Hispanic – 6.4% (down from last month)
  • Asian –4.6% (down from last month)

Unemployment by Education (25 years & over)

  • Less than high school –7.7% (down from last month)
  • High School –6.0% (down from last month)
  • Some college –5.1% (up from last month)
  • Bachelor’s Degree or higher – 2.8% (down from last month)

In July, 31 states had unemployment rates below the national average of 5.4%. 20 states, including the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, had unemployment rates that were above the national average. One state had an unemployment rate that was the same as the national average.

The state with the highest unemployment rate in July was Puerto Rico at 8.8%. [BLS 8/21]

In 2020, 10.8% of all wage and salaried workers were members of unions, up 0.5% from 2019. That is the highest mark since 2015 (11.0%).

Men were more likely than women to be in a union (11% vs. 10.5%). The highest wage cohort was 45-64 years old.

Black workers (11.2%) were more likely to be union members than white (10.3%), Asian (8.8%) or Hispanic (8.5%).

It is also the case that the actual number of union members fell in 2020 by over 321,000, but the decline in nonunion jobs was much steeper. [Axios]

76% of people in the US, China, the UK, Brazil, India, Germany, Japan, and other large economies, say they have higher expectations for a prospective employer now more than 3 years ago.

60% of employers surveyed, say their employees have more power and leverage now than they had before the pandemic. As a result, more companies are taking positions on social issues including climate change and racial equity. [Axios AM 9/1/21]

Since the pandemic began, many younger workers have considered changing their occupation or field of work.

  • 18-39 years old – 30%
  • 40-49 years old- 21%
  • 50 and older – 12%

And younger Americans generally have considered moving to a new community.

  • 18-39 year olds – 41%
  • 40-64 year olds – 24%
  • 65 and older – 11%

[WP 8/16/21]