The news on the labor front in August was dismal. Let’s see if the news for September is any better:
Employment rose in September, and the unemployment rate was essentially unchanged at 4.7 percent, the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor reported today. Nonfarm payroll employment rose by 110,000 following increases of 93,000 in July and 89,000 in August (as revised). In September, health care, food services, and professional and technical services continued to add jobs, while employment trended down in manufacturing and construction. Average hourly earnings rose by 7 cents, or 0.4 percent.
Not a bad increase and now we learn that August did not suck as badly as we had thought. The increase in household employment was reported to have increased by 463,000 but the labor force jumped by 573,000. So the reported number of unemployed actually rose by 11,000. We have also drawn our usual graph showing the employment-population (EP) ratio and the labor force participation (LFP) rate. Some pundits – who are clearly clueless – keep hammering about how great it is that the unemployment rate has stayed low without realizing the cause: a declining labor force participation rate following the declining employment-population ratio. The good news here is that EP rose from 62.8 percent to 62.9 percent, while LFP rose from 65.8 percent to 66 percent. Not great but the reversal of the recent decline is at least some goods news.