Labor Dept.: Unemployment, job growth down in September

U.S. Employment Rises Much Less Than Expected In September

There were strong upward revisions to prior months and a larger than expected drop in the unemployment rate.

The growth in the number of jobs in the US watch 96 consecutive months since October 2010, since the presidency of Barack Obama. This suggests that the tax cuts that took effect this year are boosting job opportunities.

The Labor Department also said the unemployment rate fell to 3.7 percent in September from 3.9 percent in August. This probably won't be the month to learn that lesson, however. In the past four quarters, average hourly wages have increased by 2.8 percent and accelerated to 3.1 percent in the past two quarters. The jobless rate's decline to a 48-year low will put that view to the test. Then, thanks to an Obama-initiated economic stimulus that some Democrats labeled necessary but inadequate, and 90 percent of Republicans flat-out opposed, the number of available jobs grew steadily, albeit with excruciating slowness over the next six years.

Analysts polled by Refinitiv (formerly Thomson Reuters) forecast that the US economy would add 185,000 jobs in September with the unemployment rate ticking down to 3.8 percent. This is despite the constant complaints about the shortage of construction workers and manufacturing jobs increasing by 18,000 and remaining on track to surpass the 2017 gain. Teen unemployment fell by 0.3 percent to 12.8 percent. For close to two-thirds of the USA population, this is the lowest unemployment rate in their lifetime.

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Within healthcare, hospitals showed the most employment growth last month, adding 3,800 more jobs than the 8,200 added in August.

Economy adds 134K jobs in September. The prime working-age labor force participation rate ticked down by 0.2% to 81.8% in September, but its 2018 average is 82%, on pace to be the highest since 2010.

Mickey Levy is the chief economist for the United States, the Americas, and Asia at Berenberg Capital Markets, LLC and a member of E21's Shadow Open Market Committee (SOMC). How numerous new jobs are "good" jobs will become an on-going matter of debate, partly framed by the definition of "good" (which to some analysts includes whether jobs attract regular hours and benefits).

Some measures showed the labor market may still have some room for further improvement.

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