Non-farm payrolls added fewer jobs than expected last month – 136,000, per this morning’s jobs report from the Department of Labor, rather than the 145,000 jobs predicted by economists. However, unemployment dipped to 3.5%, which is the lowest in 50 years.
“It’s kind of a mixed picture,” said Douglas Kruse, an economist at Rutgers University, to The Washington Post. “The job growth was less than what Wall Street and economists were expecting, but the drop in the unemployment rate was unexpected.”
“It’s great news to hit a record low on unemployment,” said Diane Swonk, chief economist at Grant Thornton, speaking with The New York Times. However, Swonk noted that “the disappointment was wages.”
Average hourly earnings for private-sector employees declined 1 cent to $28.09, after an 11-cent gain the previous month. The PayScale Index, which measures the change in wages for employed U.S. workers, showed 2% year-over-year wage growth for Q2 2019. However, real wages have declined 9.8% since 2006.
Where the Jobs Are
The following industries added jobs in September:
- Health care (+39,000 jobs)
- Professional and business services (+34,000 jobs)
- Government (+22,000 jobs)
- Transportation and warehousing (+16,000 jobs)
Retail trade declined 11,000 jobs. Other industries remained flat for the month, including leisure and hospitality, wholesale trade, information, financial activities, mining, construction and manufacturing.
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