The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released the Employment Situation report for September today. Total payroll employment, from the establishment survey, rose by 103 thousand and July and August were revised up by a combined 99 thousand. Private sector payrolls expanded by 137 thousand while government payrolls declined by 34 thousand. The private sector numbers were boosted by the return of 45 thousand telecommunications workers from an August strike.
From the household survey, the labor force and the number of persons employed rose by comparable amounts, keeping the unemployment rate unchanged at 9.1 percent.
Today’s report is an improvement over last month’s initial estimate of zero payroll expansion, particularly the upward revisions to July and August. But the unemployment rate has remained elevated since the beginning of the year, dipping below 9 percent only in February and March. Momentum in the private sector has slowed while declines in the government sector continue unabated. More needs to be done.