Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 156,000 in September, down from August’s upwardly revised figure of 167,000. The national unemployment rate increased to 5.0%. The majority of gains occurred in professional and business services and in health care.
Private-service providing industries added a net 157,000 jobs, led by gains in professional and business services, which added 67,000 jobs during the month and 582,000 over the year. Healthcare employment also continued to trend up, adding 33,000 jobs in September and 445,000 since September 2015.
Goods-producing employment added a net 10,000 jobs, as solid gains in construction were partially offset by job losses in manufacturing.
The civilian labor force participation rate was 62.9%, up slightly from August. The number of long-term unemployed, those jobless for 27 weeks or more, was unchanged at 2.0 million and accounted for 24.9% of the unemployed. The number of discouraged workers was 553,000 in September, little changed from the previous year.
Average hourly earnings rose 6 cents to $25.79. Hourly earnings have increased 2.6% over the past year.
According to Bank of the West Chief Economist Scott Anderson, today’s employment news “shows that moderate job growth continues. In many ways it was a Goldilocks number – not too hot or not too cold – for the market and the Fed. The number was weak enough and labor force gains strong enough to take some of the air out of the hawks fears that the FOMC is behind the curve in raising rates. At the same time, it keeps the FOMC on track for another December rate move. The improvement in average hourly earnings growth and hours worked is particularly encouraging, suggesting that the average worker is finally benefiting from the economic expansion and tightening labor market.”
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