Job numbers remain stable, unemployment rate fallsby Tim Manni
The prediction we made in last week’s Market Trends for the September jobs report was 100,000 new jobs. We weren’t too far off.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the U.S. added 114,000 new jobs last month, an increase from the original August figure of 96,000. The good news is that both the August and July figures were revised upward, landing at 142,000 and 181,000, respectively. Those figures bring the 2012 monthly average to 143,000 jobs.
A separate survey found that the unemployment rate dropped from 8.1 percent in August to 7.8 percent in September. “This is an unusually large drop from what the recent pattern has been,” says Keith Gumbinger, vice president of HSH.com.
Especially in recent months, unemployment rate declines have unfortunately been driven by people who have given up looking for work, since you have to be looking for a job to be counted as unemployed.
But that’s not necessarily the case, according to Jeffrey Sparshott and Eric Morath of the Wall Street Journal. Plain and simple, more American found jobs last month. “Previously, changes in the rate have reflected people dropping out of the work force,” they wrote. “That wasn’t the case in September. Private companies accounted for most of the growth in September payrolls, adding 104,000 jobs.”
Things are getting political
As the presidential election draws closer, each major economic report is growing more and more political. Both candidates seem to be using recent employment figures to their advantage.
At Wednesday’s debate, Mr. Romney criticized the president for presiding over a period of high unemployment and stagnant wages that he said has squeezed middle-class families.
“If I’m president I will create—help create—12 million new jobs in this country with rising incomes,” Mr. Romney said.
Mr. Obama highlighted steady growth: The private sector has added nearly five million jobs since February 2010. And he called for a “new economic patriotism” that embraces spending on education, training, energy and other areas to speed the recovery.
Little impact on growth or rates
No matter your political affiliation, today’s report is simply another characterization of our current economic state. Friday’s job numbers aren’t great, but they could be worse. All in all, they still aren’t high enough to facilitate a boost to the GDP or mortgage rates.