The monthly employment report roughly showed the economy to be still stagnated as the trends that have been in place so far this year continued. Private payrolls increased modestly by some 67,000 jobs. But the drop in census temporary employment caused total nonfarm payroll employment to fall 54,000.

The year over year gain in jobs as reported by both the payroll and the household survey is now near zero.

The unemployment rate at 9.6% was essentially unchanged and has remained in a range of
9.5% to 9.7% for several months.

The average workweek was unchanged so hours worked increased 0.3% from 99.2 to 99.5. On a smoothed basis the three month growth rate of hours worked slipped to 1.4% versus the recent peak of a 3.7% growth rate in June.

Average hourly earnings growth continued to moderate and average weekly earnings actually ticked down this month. With energy prices and overall inflation weakening this low level of wage growth is generating some modest gains in real earnings. As of last month the year over gain in real average hourly earnings of production and non supervisory
employees was 0.7% and real weekly wage were up 1.6%. While encouraging, by historical norms this is very weak for the first year of a recovery.