Why did both the workweek and average hourly earnings rise in August, while payroll jobs plunged? The probable cause, says Edward S. Hyman of International Strategy & Investment Group Inc., is that Labor Day fell so late this year. As a result, retail hiring for the fall season was delayed, a development that tends to push up the workweek and hourly earnings after seasonal adjustment. In 1987, notes Hyman, an identical late-Labor-Day pattern was followed by a declining workweek in September and no bounceback in jobs.
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