Keeping you up to date on the latest data releases.
- The Employment Situation
Total nonfarm payrolls slipped down 95,000 in September, largely reflecting a decrease of 159,000 in government payrolls, which was roughly split between a 77,000 decrease in temporary Census workers and a decline of 76,000 in local government workers (its largest decline since July 1982). While effects from the Census are nearing their final throes, local government decreases seem to have increased in recent months, averaging a roughly 50,000 decrease over the past three months compared to a roughly flat average since the beginning of the recession (perhaps some speculative evidence of budgetary strains?). Revisions to the past two months revealed a combined 15,000 decrease, but that came as losses in government payrolls (−51,000) swamped upward revisions to private sector (+36,000). Private payrolls appear to be gaining some traction, rising by 64,000 in September, following upwardly revised gains of 93,000 in August and 117,000 in July. Over the last six months, the average gain in private payrolls has been 107,000, compared to an average of −6,000 over the six months prior to that. Goods-producing payrolls fell 22,000 in September, though that was largely on as construction employment decreased 21,000, nearly reversing a 31,000 increase in August. Manufacturing payrolls were just shy of flat, while mining payrolls increased slightly (up 5,800). Private service-sector employment increased by 86,000 during the month, nearly matching its gains over the previous two months. The largest gains in the sector came from leisure and hospitality (up 38,000), health care (up 24,000), and temporary help services (up 17,000). Other measures that have been showing some recent improvement, average hours and earnings, were flat in September, though factory overtime ticked up from 3.8 hours to 3.9 hours. On the household side, the unemployment rate remained at 9.6 percent and the employment-to-population ratio was unchanged at 58.5 percent.