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US employers add 148K jobs; rate falls to 7.2 pct.

Posted October 22, 2013

Unemployment

— The U.S. economy added just 148,000 jobs in September, suggesting that employers held back on hiring before a 16-day partial government shutdown began Oct. 1.

Still, hiring last month was enough to lower the unemployment rate. The Labor Department said Tuesday that the rate fell to 7.2 percent from 7.3 percent in August. Unemployment remains historically high but is near a five-year low and is down from 7.9 percent at the start of 2013.

The tepid job growth makes it more likely that the Federal Reserve will maintain its level of bond purchases for the rest of this year. The bond purchases are intended to lower long-term interest rates and boost borrowing and spending.

The release of the September jobs report had been delayed 2½ weeks by the shutdown, which likely further slowed economic growth and hiring. Temporary layoffs of federal workers and government contractors will probably depress October's job gain. That means a clear view of the job market may not emerge until the November jobs report is issued in December.

The shutdown also delayed the release of state unemployment numbers, which were due out Tuesday. The North Carolina Division of Employment Security said a revised release date hasn't been decided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The national report "reinforces the impression that the labor market was losing a little momentum heading in to the shutdown," said Josh Feinman, global chief economist at Deutsche Asset and Wealth Management. "The labor market is continuing to create jobs. ...It's just frustratingly slow."

The economy has added an average of 143,000 jobs a month from July through September, weaker than the 182,000 average gain from April through June.

A tight job market has discouraged many Americans from looking for work. The percentage of Americans working or looking for work remained at a 35-year low last month

The September jobs report showed that some higher-paying industries added jobs at a healthy pace. Construction companies, for example, added 20,000.

Transportation and warehousing gained 23,400 jobs, governments 22,000.

And average hourly pay ticked up 3 cents to $24.09. In the past year, hourly pay has risen 2.1 percent, ahead of the 1.5 percent inflation rate.

The department revised its estimates of job growth in July and August to show a slight net gain of 9,000. It said employers added 193,000 jobs in August, more than the 169,000 previously estimated. But it said just 89,000 were added in July, the fewest in more than a year and below the earlier estimated 104,000.

The deceleration in job growth was a key reason the Fed decided in September to hold off on slowing its $85-billion-a-month in bond purchases. Many economists think the lack of clean data will lead the Fed to put off any decision on the bond purchases until 2014.

"It reinforces their hesitancy," Feinman said of the September jobs report. "It's more validation for their hesitancy to taper in September."

Many economists say the shutdown cut $25 billion out of the economy and slowed growth to about a 2 percent annual rate in the October-December quarter. That's down from estimates before the shutdown that the economy would expand at a 2.5 percent annual rate.

But growth will likely be a bit higher in the first three months of next year, as consumers and businesses make purchases and investments that were delayed during the shutdown.

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  • yankee1 Oct 22, 2013

    Pointing out your hypocrisy and holding you to the same standard you expect from others?... junkmail5

    Asking a legitimate question of people boasting of Obama's success is now hypocrisy? No! Hypocrisy is claiming you're not an Obamabot but then attacking everyone else who points out the endless failures, lies and misrepresentations of your hero. It wouldn't matter what list anyone put up here anyway now would it?

  • boylan99 Oct 22, 2013

    Only 148,000 jobs were added but the unemployment rate goes down? Gov't math at its' finest. Anyone who believes these numbers to be a true representative of the unemployed please see me about the purchase of ocean front property in Colorado.

  • yankee1 Oct 22, 2013

    Exactly what policies of any type has Obama implemented that has benefited the country economically or otherwise- Yankee1

    Hey, let's use your own question against you!

    junkmail5

    Nope! I don't think so. That's typical left wing strategy, at least at first, answer a question with a question, until they start with the name calling that is. BTW the comments were directed at jackflash, not you. That is unless you are his alter ego. Apparently neither one of you can list anything Obama has done if it isn't related to buying votes with handouts.

  • junkmail5 Oct 22, 2013

    Compared to Obama's reign, Bush never had High gas prices- tazz

    except, he did.

    In fact, inflation adjusted, Bush had HIGHER gas prices at points in his presidency than Obama ever has during his.

    or high unemployment.- tazz Danger

    Except, again, he did. Unemployment when Bush left office was higher than it is right now under Obama for example.

    Though again- the president has a pretty limited ability to really change either number directly.

  • Tazz Danger Oct 22, 2013

    Compared to Obama's reign, Bush never had High gas prices, or high unemployment.

  • junkmail5 Oct 22, 2013

    democrats took control of both houses January 3, 2007. Unemployment didn't begin to rise significantly until mid-late 2008... a year and a half later. ....junkmail15

    Exactly!- yankee1

    Exactly?

    You realize the post you are agreeing with shows the democrats election was NOT immediately followed by an unemployment jump?

    The term "as soon as" is irrelevant- yankee1

    well, it's pretty relevant if you want to claim their election was the immediate cause of something that didn't actually HAPPEN immediately.

    Exactly what policies of any type has Obama implemented that has benefited the country economically or otherwise- Yankee1

    Hey, let's use your own question against you!

    What policies of the Jan 3, 2007 democratic congress caused that high unemployment 1.5 years later, since that seems to be your claim about what happened and why.

    So which SPECIFIC laws did they pass to cause that?

    You think they were a failure, enlighten us.

  • davidk_at_unc Oct 22, 2013

    "You mean like when high gas prices was Bush's fault but when Barry was voted in, suddenly "presidents werent in charge of gas prices." You remember that? Im sure you have forgotten. Libs have such selective memories." -- Steve Mchugelarge

    I do remember that ... very well, thank you. I for one never blamed gas prices on Bush or any other individual. Thank you for your erroneous generalization though. So, I assume since you didn't blame Bush for the gas prices you agree that Obama is not accountable for the job market. Glad to see you've come around!

  • yankee1 Oct 22, 2013

    democrats took control of both houses January 3, 2007. Unemployment didn't begin to rise significantly until mid-late 2008... a year and a half later.
    ....junkmail15

    Exactly! And Democrats had control of the whole thing until those elected in 2010 were sworn in and control of the House changed. Case closed. The term "as soon as" is irrelevant other than to use it as a chance to nit-pick language.

  • yankee1 Oct 22, 2013

    I say the predetermined idea that ANYTHING President Obama does is bad is bogus....jackflash123

    Help educate us then. Exactly what policies of any type has Obama implemented that has benefited the country economically or otherwise. BTW handing out additional tax payer money to special interest groups to but votes doesn't count. You seem to think he's quite the success, enlighten us.

    jackflash123

  • junkmail5 Oct 22, 2013

    Just to more fully dispel the nonsense of "There's plenty of jobs"

    http://www.bls.gov/news.release/jolts.htm

    There were 3.7 million job openings nationwide as of July (latest data available).

    There were about 11.3 million unemployed (not working- but looking for work).

    This means there were 3.05 people looking for work for EACH job opening that existed.

    So no, there's not plenty of jobs. Not even close to it.

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