October 3, 2008

The September Employment Situation Report

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 9:07 am

Still catching up, but to briefly set the table:

  • ADP showed 8,000 nonfarm private jobs lost on Wednesday.
  • AP carried a “consensus” forecast of 100,000 jobs lost when the Bureau of Labor Statistics report is released today.

Here’s the BLS release’s first paragraph:

Nonfarm payroll employment declined by 159,000 in September, and the unemployment rate held at 6.1 percent, the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor reported today. Employment continued to fall in construction, manufacturing, and retail trade, while mining and health care continued to add jobs.

As shown in the first chart below, the number of jobs actually added in September (yes, jobs were actually added in September) was way short of previous years, which is why the seasonally adjusted number in the second chart went as negative as it did:


Two-word overall reax: Thanks, Hank.

Upon further reflection reax: This is a bad-news report, and what follows doesn’t change that. It is interesting, though, that the unemployment rate stayed the same while jobs were lost. That is consistent with a workforce that isn’t growing much, or even contracting, as was the case in September, even on a seasonally adjusted basis. My best guess is that this is happening because more boomers are hitting the early Social Security retirement age of 62, out-migration of illegal immigrants is continuing, and many illegals who so far have stayed have withdrawn from the workforce.


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