Today, the BLS released the September Employment Situation Summary, which showed a headline number of 103,000 new jobs created for last month (from the Establishment Survey). This can be broken down into a gain of 137,000 new jobs by the private sector and a loss of 34,000 jobs by government (mostly state and local). Since September of 2008, government employment is down by 535,000. Other interesting data from the Establishment Survey included upward revisions to the past two months, with July going from +85,000 to +127,000 and August going from 0 to +57,000 and a gain of 26,000 in construction employment, which had been essentially flat since February. Both wages and hours worked ticked up slightly for the month as well.
The Household Survey portion of report included a headline U-3 unemployment rate of 9.1% (unchanged from last month), but this was primarily caused by an increase in the labor force (the participation rate was up .2%) as the Household Survey measure of jobs created increased by 398,000 for the month and both the number of people not in the labor force and those not in the labor force but want a job both decreased in September. That being said, U-6 ticked up to 16.5% from 16.2% mostly due to an increase in part-time employment.
Overall, this would have to go down as an unexpectedly good (in a relative sense, these numbers overall are pretty poor for an expansion, but considering expectations and the current expansion these aren’t bad) report with positive signs showing from both the upward revisions to past months, the increase in the labor force, the increase in construction jobs, and the large increase in the Household Survey job creation number. The negatives would be the continued increase in part-time work, the lack of enough job creation to bring down any unemployment rate, and the point in the “expansion” at which this report is happening.