Friday’s “Employment Situation” report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) was ugly. Net of revisions to the July and August figures, the monthly increase in the obsessively watched “payroll employment” number was only 83,000. This was far less than the consensus expectation of 201,000.
The BLS “Household Survey” numbers painted an even gloomier picture. Extending its sickening slide under President Obama, labor force participation fell to 62.36%, the lowest level seen in 38 years. This is what made it possible for the “headline” (U-3) unemployment rate to remain at 5.1%, even though 236,000 fewer Americans had jobs.
The number of FTE* jobs fell by 118,000. This, coupled with growth in our working-age population, increased our distance from full employment by 254,000, to 13.9 million.
Averaged hours worked declined, and average wages fell. All in all, September was not a good month for workers.
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