September U.S Job Numbers Shows Little Change
The final U.S. job report with the potential to impact the outcome of the November elections has arrived, and it doesn’t deliver good news for either candidate.
Granted, in this season of leaked emails and leaked audiotapes, the attention typically paid to the economy and employment has been lost amidst tabloid headlines. But if Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump were hoping for one more talking point to boost their campaign, it was not forthcoming.
Of course, that didn’t stop them from trying. Jacob Leibenluft, a senior policy adviser for the Clinton campaign, said the report “shows that the economy continues to create jobs and that wages continue to grow.” The Trump campaign called the report “weak,” and a sign that Democrat leadership continues to fail America’s workers.
The good: U.S. employers hired 156,000 workers last month. The bad: that was fewer than the 167,000 hired in August, and well bellow the 175,000 gain forecast among analysts polled by Reuters.
Unemployment is up as well, to 5 percent, though some analysts see this as a positive development. The theory is that some of the people who had stopped looking for work have re-entered the job market.
Average hourly earnings rose 0.2 percent, continuing a trend of “nothing to see here” that dates back to 2009.
In short, the country continues to experience modest growth – not enough for a celebration, but enough to keep worries over another recession at bay.
Will it be enough to trigger an interest rate hike in December? It has been talked about to the point where it begins to seem inevitable; yet housing starts are not back to a normal pace, though construction hiring did increase last month. Perhaps this is the one area where the results of the presidential election will have an impact.
Jobs by Industry
The biggest gainer in the September jobs report was professional and business services, which gained 67,000 jobs and are up more than 500,000 for the year.
Also up: Healthcare (+33,000), management and technical consulting services (+16,000), food services (+30,000), and retail (+22,000).
However, the slight overall uptick in employment was not shared by the transportation and warehousing industries, which lost 9,000 jobs. Manufacturing also suffered in September, as factory payrolls decreased by 13,000 after a 16,000 decline in August.
Perhaps the one net positive for September and 2016 to date has been the cumulative affect of several modest increases. As a result, the economy needs only about 80,000 to 100,000 jobs a month to keep up with growth of the population and labor force.
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