US Economy Adds Fewer Jobs than Expected


Nonfarm payrolls in the US increased by 136 thousand in September 2019, following a upwardly revised 168 thousand in August and below market expectations of 145 thousand. Employment continued to trend up in health care and in professional and business services.

Health care added 39,000 jobs, in line with its average monthly gain over the prior 12 months. Ambulatory health care services (+29,000) and hospitals (+8,000) added jobs over the month. 

Employment in professional and business services continued to trend up in September (+34,000). The industry has added an average of 35,000 jobs per month thus far in 2019, compared with 47,000 jobs per month in 2018.  

Employment in government continued on an upward trend in September (+22,000). Federal hiring for the 2020 Census was negligible (+1,000). Government has added 147,000 jobs over the past 12 months, largely in local government. 

Employment in transportation and warehousing edged up in September (+16,000). Within the industry, job growth occurred in transit and ground passenger transportation (+11,000) and in couriers and messengers (+4,000). 

Retail trade employment changed little in September (-11,000). Within the industry, clothing and clothing accessories stores lost 14,000 jobs, while food and beverage stores added 9,000 jobs. Since reaching a peak in January 2017, retail trade has lost 197,000  jobs. 

Employment in other major industries, including mining, construction, manufacturing, wholesale trade, information, financial activities, and leisure and hospitality, showed little change over the month. 

In September, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls, at $28.09, were little changed (-1 cent), after rising by 11 cents in August. Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings have increased by 2.9 percent. In September, average hourly earnings of private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees rose by 4 cents  to $23.65.

The average workweek for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls was unchanged at 34.4 hours in September. In manufacturing, the average workweek and overtime remained at 40.5 hours and 3.2 hours, respectively. The average workweek of private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees held at 33.6 hours.

The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for July was revised up by 7,000 from  +159,000 to +166,000, and the change for August was revised up by 38,000 from +130,000 to +168,000. With these revisions, employment gains in July and August combined were 45,000  more than previously reported. (Monthly revisions result from additional reports received from businesses and government agencies since the last published estimates and from the  recalculation of seasonal factors.) After revisions, job gains have averaged 157,000 per month over the last 3 months.

US Economy Adds Fewer Jobs than Expected


BLS | Stefanie Moya | stefanie.moya@tradingeconomics.com
10/4/2019 12:39:18 PM