Arthur J. Villasanta – Fourth Estate Contributor
Washington, DC, United States (4E) – Total nonfarm payroll employment in the United States for September fell to 134,000 after surging 270,000 in August, reported the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) over the weekend. The 134,000 figure was also well below analysts’ estimates of 185,000, and is the worst performance since Sept. 2017.
Despite the slump in job growth in September, the unemployment rate hit its lowest level since 1969. The unemployment rate fell 0.2% to 3.7%, the lowest since December 1969. The number of unemployed persons fell by 270,000 to 6.0 million, said the BLS.
In September, the labor force participation rate remained at 62.7 percent, and the employment-population ratio, at 60.4 percent, was little changed.
Job gains this September took place mainly in professional and business services; healthcare, and transportation and warehousing.
Average hourly earnings showed a welcome 2.8 percent increase year-over-year, in line with Wall Street estimates.
Job gains for September were concentrated in professional and business services, which rose by 54,000. Healthcare saw 26,000 new positions while transportation and warehousing was up 24,000. Construction continued added 23,000 jobs while new hires in manufacturing rose by 18,000 thanks to a jump in durable goods-related industries.
Leisure and hospitality represented the most significant decline, with 17,000 jobs lost. The BLS said this might be due to Hurricane Florence.
Among major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult women (3.3%) and Whites (3.3%) declined in September. The jobless rates for adult men (3.4%), teenagers (12.8%), Blacks (6.0%), Asians (3.5%), and Hispanics (4.5%) showed little or no change over the month.
Unemployment among African- Americans fell 0.3% to 6%, slightly above its record low of 5.9 percent achieved in May.
The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) was little changed at 1.4 million over the month. These individuals accounted for 22.9 percent of the unemployed. The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons (sometimes referred to as involuntary part- time workers) increased by 263,000 to 4.6 million in September.
These individuals, who would have preferred full-time employment, were working part time because their hours had been reduced or they were unable to find full-time jobs.
“The labor market is in excellent shape heading into the end of 2018, perhaps the best it has been in 50 years,” said Gus Faucher, chief economist at PNC. “Job growth was a bit softer in September, but some of that was from Hurricane Florence, and it should bounce back through the rest of 2018 and into 2019.”
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