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BLS Jobs Report: 142,000 Jobs Added, Unemployment Steady at 5.1 Percent

For the second month in a row, the Employment Situation Summary came in under analysts' expectations. Prior to this morning's report from the labor department, economists polled by Reuters had predicted gains of 203,000 jobs in September. In addition, the Bureau of Labor Statistics revised last month's numbers downward to reflect 136,000 jobs added for August, instead of the 173,000 originally reported.

For the second month in a row, the Employment Situation Summary came in under analysts’ expectations. Prior to this morning’s report from the labor department, economists polled by Reuters had predicted gains of 203,000 jobs in September. In addition, the Bureau of Labor Statistics revised last month’s numbers downward to reflect 136,000 jobs added for August, instead of the 173,000 originally reported.

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(Photo Credit: brownpau/Flickr)

“Disappointing across the board,” Brad McMillan, chief investment officer at Commonwealth Financial Network, told CNBC. “This is not what the markets were looking for, this is not what pretty much anybody expected.”

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Last month, the following industries added jobs:

  • Healthcare: +34,000 jobs
  • Information: +12,000 jobs
  • Professional and business services: +31,000 jobs
  • Retail trade employment: +24,000 jobs
  • Food services and drinking places: +21,00 jobs

Mining continued its downward trend last month, losing 10,000 jobs, mostly in support activities (-7,000 jobs). The industry has declined by 102,000 jobs since its December 2014 peak.

Other industries, including manufacturing, construction, wholesale trade, financial activities, government, and transportation and warehousing, were essentially flat for the month.

Average hourly earnings declined by 1 cent to $25.09, after a 9-cent gain the previous month. The average workweek declined slightly, as well, by 0.1 hour to 34.5 hours. The PayScale Index, which measures the change in wages for employed U.S. workers, forecasts a 0.4 percent increase in wages for the third quarter.

The unemployment rate of 5.1 percent reflected little change in the number of long-term unemployed – 26.6 percent, or 2.1 million, had been unemployed for 27 weeks or more. The number of people who had been unemployed for less than five weeks increased, however, by 268,000 to 2.4 million, and the labor force participation rate declined to 62.4 percent in September from 62.6 percent for the past three months.

The number of involuntary part-time workers fell by 447,000 to 6 million last month, while the number of people marginally attached to the labor force (meaning that they’d looked for work at some point during the previous 12 months, but not during the four weeks prior to the survey) was 1.9 million, a decline of 305,000 from last year.

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Jen Hubley Luckwaldt
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