3 Sector ETFs & Stocks to Bet on August Jobs Data

The U.S. economy added 187,000 jobs in August 2023, compared to the downwardly revised 157,000 in July and more than market expectations of 170,000. Still, it was the third successive month with job gains falling below the 200,000-mark, indicating a gradual easing of labor market conditions, thanks to the Federal Reserve’s significant interest rate hikes aimed at cooling down inflation.

The unemployment rate saw a slight increase of 0.3 percentage points, reaching 3.8% in August. Additionally, the number of unemployed individuals grew by 514,000, totaling 6.4 million. These figures show minimal deviation from the same period the previous year, where the unemployment rate stood at 3.7% and the number of unemployed individuals was 6.0 million.

In August, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose by 8 cents, or 0.2%, to $33.82. Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings have increased by 4.3%. In August, average hourly earnings of private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees rose by 6 cents, or 0.2%, to $29.00.

Below, we have highlighted some of the sectors that will likely see smooth trading in the days ahead in light of the August jobs data.

Sectors in Focus


Employment in the healthcare industry increased by 71,000 in jobs, almost in line with the prior month’s gains. Job gains occurred in ambulatory health care services (+40,000), nursing and residential care facilities (+17,000), and hospitals (+15,000).

Health Care Select Sector SPDR ETF XLV can be played to tap the moderate momentum. HCA Healthcare HCA, which has a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) deserves a mention. It is the largest non-governmental operator of acute care hospitals in the United States.


Employment in leisure and hospitality rose by 40,000. The industry had gained an average of 61,000 jobs per month over the past one month. Employment in the industry remains below its pre-pandemic February 2020 level by 290,000, or 1.7%.

The data makes Invesco Dynamic Leisure and Entertainment ETF PEJ a timely investment. The Zacks Rank #1 BJ’s Restaurants BJRI, owns and operates a chain of high-end casual dining restaurants in the United States.


In August, employment in construction (+22,000) was in line with the average monthly gain over the prior 12 months (+17,000). Within the industry, employment continued to trend up over the month in specialty trade contractors (+11,000) and in heavy and civil engineering construction (+7,000).

Investors can keep a watch on the price movement of Invesco Dynamic Building & Construction ETF PKB. As far as the stock is concerned, Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) Dycom Industries DY can be played. It is a leading provider of specialty contracting services throughout the United States.
BJ’s Restaurants, Inc. (BJRI): Free Stock Analysis Report

HCA Healthcare, Inc. (HCA): Free Stock Analysis Report

Dycom Industries, Inc. (DY): Free Stock Analysis Report

Health Care Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLV): ETF Research Reports

Invesco Building & Constructio (PKB): ETF Research Reports

Invesco Leisure & Entertainmen (PEJ): ETF Research Reports

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Zacks Investment Research

This article originally appeared on Zacks

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