The economy added 96,000 jobs in August and the unemployment rate dipped to 8.1 percent, but the decline was a result of more people dropping out of the labor force, the Department of Labor reported today.
The unemployment rate stood at 8.3 percent in July.
Employment increased in food services and drinking places, in professional and technical services and in health care.
In August, the number of long-term unemployed, those jobless for 27 weeks or more, was little changed at 5 million. Those cases accounted for 40 percent of the unemployed.
The number of people employed part time for economic reasons was relatively unchanged changed at 8 million in August.
The proportion of the population that is either working or looking for work fell to 63.5 percent - the lowest level in 31 years for the labor force participation rate.
In August, 2.6 million people were marginally attached to the labor force, essentially unchanged from a year earlier. These people were not in the labor force, wanted and were available for work and had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months. They were not counted as unemployed because they had not searched for work in the four weeks preceding the survey.
Among them, there were 844,000 discouraged workers in August, a decline of 133,000 from a year earlier. Discouraged workers are people who are not currently looking for work because they believe no jobs are available for them.
Employment in food services and drinking places increased by 28,000 in August and by 298,000 during the last 12 months. Employment in professional and technical services rose by 27,000 in August, with 11,000 added in computer systems design and related services and 9,000 added in management and technical consulting services.
Health care employment rose by 17,000 in August.