The Employment Situation in September – Two Steps Forward, Half Step Back


Payroll gains were strong and the unemployment rate dropped two-tenths of a percentage point, .15 based on employment gains, 0.05 based on labor force defections.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released the Employment Situation report for September. The establishment survey showed payroll employment expanded by 248 thousand. The disappointing August gain was revised up from 142 thousand to a less disappointing 180 thousand, and July was increased from 212 thousand to 243 thousand, a combined increase of 69 thousand in the prior two months.

From the household survey, the unemployment rate dropped from 6.1% to 5.9%, driven by a healthy increase of 232 thousand in employed persons (.15 of the .2 percentage point decline) but exaggerated by a decline in the labor force of 97 thousand (0.05 of the decline).

The bounce back from the (now less) disappointing August puts the average monthly payroll gains in 2014 at 227 thousand, up from 194 thousand in 2013 and 186 thousand in 2012. Progress has been choppy but it is being made.

blog emp 2014_09


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