September Employment Situation Report Weaker Than Expected

Written by: John Landers

The Department of Labor Department (DOL) reports that employers added 148,000 nonfarm jobs in September. The figure falls well below the consensus of 180,000, as projected by 93 economists responding to the Bloomberg survey. Estimates of payroll increases ranged from 100,000 to 256,000. Economists polled by Reuters also returned a median projection of 180,000 new jobs.

Revisions made to the July and August reports resulted increased the total number of jobs added by 9,000.

The September Employment Situation report was scheduled for release on October 4, but the September report was delayed by the 16 day shutdown of the federal government.

Bloomberg survey estimates ranged from increases of 100,000 to 256,000. Revisions to prior reports added a total of 9,000 jobs to overall payrolls in the previous two months.

September job market data

In September, the unemployment rate dropped one-tenth of a point to 7.2 percent. According to the report, the number of jobless Americans has declined 522,000 since June. However, 11.3 million Americans remain unemployed.

Here are the unemployment rates per major worker group:

  • Adult men – 7.1 percent
  • Adult women – 6.2 percent
  • Teenagers – 21.4 percent
  • Whites – 6.3 percent
  • Blacks -12.9 percent
  • Hispanics – 9.0 percent
  • Asians – 5.3 percent (not seasonally adjusted)

The number of persons who have been without a job for 27 weeks or more— the “long-term unemployed,”  remained stable at 4.1 million compared to August. On a year-over-year basis, the number of long-term unemployed has decreased by 725,000 persons. People in this category make up 36.9 percent of all unemployed Americans.

The metric that tracks individuals who work part-time remained unchanged at 7.9 million. This category of workers work part-time due to economic reasons—they either had their work hours reduced or were unable to find full-time jobs.

The DOL reports that 2.3 million American are “marginally attached” to the work force compared to 2.5 million a year ago. This classification consists of individuals who want to work and are available for work. They have conducted job searches sometime over the last 12 months, but have not looked for employment in the four weeks leading up to the survey.

Year-over-year, the number of “discourage workers” in the marginally attached classification remains stable at 852,000. This sub- category of workers tracks individuals who stopped looking for employment because they believe that jobs are not available. The other 1.5 million individuals in the marginally attached grouping did not search for jobs because of familial obligations or attending school.

Labor market losing momentum

Despite hitting the lowest unemployment level in nearly five years, the pace of new jobs created over the past few months has lagged behind the 185,000 pace averaged over the past 12 months.  The August report showed that companies created more jobs in August. July’s data revealed that job gains were the weakness since June last year.

Over the coming weeks, economists and policymakers will monitor the economy more closely to determine the impact of the government impasse, which could end up impeding job growth in the fourth quarter of this year.

The disappointing Employment Situation report for September will have a bearing on the Federal Reserve’s decision on the future of its $85 billion a month bond-buying program.  The Fed, scheduled to meet on October 29-30, may decide to delay trimming the program until next year.


September Employment Situation Report Weaker Than...

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