156,000 New Jobs in September, Wages Up 2.6 Percent

The latest jobs numbers are out from the federal government. What do they mean for job seekers and employers? Here’s a quick take from Glassdoor’s Chief Economist Dr. Andrew Chamberlain:

This morning’s latest jobs report revealed slow and steady growth in the U.S. labor market, with 156,000 new jobs added to payrolls and an unemployment rate essentially unchanged at 5.0 percent.

These latest September numbers mark a new milestone for the labor market, with 72 consecutive months of positive job gains. That six-year streak is the longest on record since the 1930s. For the economy overall, the U.S. is now 87 months into an economic expansion as of the end of September, just short of the robust 92-month expansion of the 1980s.

Today’s report showed a slight uptick in the unemployment rate from 4.9 percent to 5.0 percent. However, this small change was described as “little changed” by the statisticians at the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In the view of most economists, the economy today remains at full employment.

Wage growth was one of the bright spots of today’s report. Average hourly wages were up 2.6 percent from a year ago. That’s up from 2.4 percent last month, and is consistent with a rising trend in wages we’re seeing at Glassdoor.

With only one more jobs report before the November presidential election, today’s figures show a robust and steady labor market. At this stage of the election cycle, the number of undecided voters is small, and the number that will be swayed by today’s slow and steady labor market figures is even smaller.

Unlike the past two election cycles, the labor market is so healthy today that it has largely fallen away as a hot-button political issue. This election year has featured slow and steady growth, with few surprises in the monthly jobs numbers.

One wildcard for next month’s jobs report may be the effect of Hurricane Matthew, which is currently affecting the southeast. Depending on the damage done, that event may affect jobs figures for October, the last jobs report just days before the election.

The industries adding the most jobs in September were professional and business services (+67,000 jobs), construction (+23,000 jobs), retail (+22,000 jobs), and health care (+21,800 jobs). Temporary help services also showed big gains, adding an unusually large 23,200 jobs.

By contrast, the industries showing job losses last month were manufacturing (-13,000 jobs), government (-11,000 jobs), and transportation and warehousing (-9,000 jobs). After consistently losing jobs in recent months, mining and logging showed zero change in employment in September.

To speak with Dr. Andrew Chamberlain about today’s jobs report or to discuss labor market trends, contact pr at Glassdoor dot com. For the latest economics and labor market updates, follow @adchamberlain on Twitter and subscribe to Glassdoor Economic Research