September Job Numbers Redux

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The Bureau of Labor Statistics released its September job numbers this morning, and as one Credit Suisse analyst put it, they’re, well, “blasé.”

The unemployment rate showed no change from August, holding steady at 9.6 percent — and while the private sector added jobs (+64,000), the public sector lost them (-159,000). The public sector decline is still largely due to a drop off in employment for temporary Census workers, who accounted for 77,000 of the public sector jobs lost last month. This mix of both good and bad news is what we’ve come to expect from the monthly unemployment report, which has told a similar story in months past.

With an economic recovery seemingly trapped in a pattern of fits and starts, it can be hard to determine when we’ve truly reached a progressive benchmark in lowering the unemployment rate. According to one economist, John Ryding, who was quoted in the New York Times this morning, it will take a steady addition of about 150,000 jobs per month to level off the unemployment rate, and begin to see a true recovery in employment. Though there was a net loss of 95,000 jobs this month — we still have reason to believe that the economy will be better than blasé soon.

Here are a few reasons why:

  • According to BLS figures, since December 2009, the private sector has added more than 825,000 jobs. September marked the ninth-straight month of growth for private-sector jobs.
  • The drastic decline in public sector employment seen over the past few months, which has been largely off-setting private sector gains in total non-farm employment, should level out through the end of the year as decreasing Census workers becomes less of a factor on public sector employment. According to the BLS, of the 564,000 temporary Census workers hired in the spring, only 6,000 remain employed.
  • Health care employment rose by 24,000 in September. This year, health care has added an average of 21,000 jobs per month.
  • Employment in the food services industry rose by 34,000 last month. The food services industry has added 104,000 jobs since the beginning of the year.
  • Employment in professional and business services rose by 28,000 jobs in September. Though the increase reflected mostly temporary positions, this personnel increase may mean that employers are seeing a need to rebuild their workforce, and are testing their staffing needs.

Here’s hoping for more good news next month!

For more on employment trends, see CareerBuilder’s Fourth Quarter Forecast here.

31 Comments
  1. I am unempolyed? I had a full-time job and in May lost it. For a few months I just looked for a full time job. I did not get one. I now look for a full time job and work a part time job. Am I included in the numbers? I want to work full time but cannot find one.

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