Keeping you up to date on the latest data releases.
Nonfarm payrolls rose just 114,000 in September and are averaging a monthly gain of 146,000 over the past three months, roughly in line with its 2011 average monthly increase of 153,000. Interestingly, estimates over the past two months were revised up sharply (+86,000). However, the revisions came entirely from government payrolls, which were revised up by 91,000 in sum. Private nonfarm payrolls, which rose 104,000 in September, were actually knocked down by 5,000 in the revised estimates for July and August. Perhaps the most disappointing trend to highlight on this side of the report is that private nonfarm payrolls are averaging 121,000 over the past three months, down from an average monthly gain of 175,000 in 2011. Cross-industry performance was mixed in September. The largest payrolls gains came from health care (up 44,000), transportation and warehousing (up 17,000), and financial activities (up 13,000). The release pointed out that the gains in the financial sector were due to increases in credit intermediation employment (up 6,000) and a 7,000 increase in real estate payrolls. Most of the payroll employment declines in September came from goods-producing industries (and the bulk of that was in durables manufacturing). Manufacturing employment, after decreasing 22,000 in August, slipped down another 16,000 in September. Durables employment (down 13,000) accounted for most of September’s decline in manufacturing payrolls (roughly 3,000 of this loss was in the auto industry).
On the household side, the details were fairly positive. The unemployment rate fell 0.3 percentage points to 7.8 percent. The number of employed persons jumped up 873,000 in September (more than doubling its threshold for statistical significance), its strongest monthly gain since January 2003. As a result, the employment-to-population ratio jumped up 0.4 percentage points to its highest level since September 2009. Elsewhere on the household side, there was a sharp decline in the number of persons unemployed for less than five weeks (down 302,000). Other duration categories were little changed.