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By New_Deal_democrat October 22, 2013 9:20 am
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Delayed September Jobs Report: More Meh

- by New Deal democrat


The headline for September2013 employment is that 148,000 jobs were added, and the unemployment rate decreased from 7.3% to 7.2%. July was revised yet lower (under 100,000) and August were revised higher, for a net gain of 9,000 .

First, let's look at the more leading numbers in the report which tell us about where the economy is likely to be a few months from now. These were mixed.

  • the average manufacturing workweek decreased 0.1 hours from 41.9 hours to 41.8. This is one of the 10 components of the LEI and will affect that number negatively
  • construction jobs were up 20,000.
  • manufacturing jobs rose by 2,000.
  • temporary jobs - a leading indicator for jobs overall - increased by +20,000.
  • the number of people unemployed for 5 weeks or less - a better leading indicator than initial jobless claims - increased by 33, and remains about 158,000 off its lows.

Now here are some of the other important coincident indicators filling out our view of where we are now:

  • The average workweek for all workers was unchanged at 34.5 hours
  • Overtime hours were also unchanged at 3.4 hours.
  • the index of aggregate hours worked in the economy increased 0.1 hours from last month's level of 98.8 to 98.9.. This is also a post-recession record.
  • The broad U-6 unemployment rate, that includes discouraged workers fell from 13.7% to 13.6% also a new post-recession low.
  • The workforce increased by 73,000. Part time jobs for economic reasons rose by 15,000. Doomers, who a couple of months ago were rending their garments about the number of full time vs. part time jobs since the beginning of the year, will now forget all about this and move on to the next sure harbinger of catastrophe.

Other news included:

  • the alternate jobs number contained in the more volatile household survey increased by 133,000 jobs.
  • Government jobs actually increased by 22,000.
  • Combined revisions to the July and August reports totalled a loss/gain of 9,000 jobs, with the reports now showing +84,000 and +193,000 jobs, respectively. Downward revisions are not a good sign, although this is only one month.
  • average hourly earnings increased $.04 from $24.05 to $24.09 The YoY change decreased from +2.2% to 2.1%, but given the recent decline in inflation due to gas prices, the YoY average real wages have increased again to a multiyear high
  • the employment to population ratio was unchaged at 58.6%. The labor force participation rate was also unchanged at 63.2%.

All in all, this was a "meh" report. Positive, most of the important indicators continuing to move in the right dirrection, and no sign of any imminent decline in the economy. Still, revisions to numbers earlier this year have been mixed to negative, and that remains a cautrionary signal. In other words, like almost every report from the last 4 years, positive but not nearly good enough to fundamentally change the stall in the fortunes of the average American worker household.


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