WASHINGTON – Though U.S. job growth slowed last month, the unemployment rate fell, especially for younger demographic groups.
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Jobless rates also fell for recent war veterans and for high school graduates and dropouts.
Rates held steady or rose for nearly every other group.
The overall unemployment rate slipped to 6.1 percent in August from 6.2 percent in July, the Labor Department said Friday. This occurred even though employers said they added just 142,000 jobs, significantly below the 212,000 monthly average over the past 12 months.
So what caused the unemployment rate to drop wasn't robust hiring. It was that more people either stopped working, abandoned their job search or never started it. In calculating the unemployment rate, the government counts as unemployed only people who are actively seeking jobs, so those departures caused the rate to fall.
|Unemployment rate by group:|
|(Numbers in percentages)||August 2014||July 2014||August 2013|
|20-24 years old||10.6||11.3||12.8|
|25-54 years old||5.3||5.2||6.3|
|55 and over||4.6||4.5||5.1|
|Veterans of Iraq/Afghanistan*||8.1||9.2||10|
|No high school diploma||9.1||9.6||11.3|
|High school graduate||6.2||6.1||7.5|
|Duration of Unemployment:|
|Average length (weeks)||31.7||32.4||37|
|Jobless 6 months of more (pct.)||31.2||32.9||38|
|* Not seasonally adjusted|
|Source: Labor Department|