Job Growth Remains Steady from August to September

Unemployment Rate Edges Up

JOB GROWTH: Nonfarm employment rose by 156,000 in September. While that was slightly behind last month’s upwardly revised job growth figure of 167,000, monthly job growth over the past three months has averaged 192,000.

TOP INDUSTRIES: In September, the professional and business services sector more than doubled the gains it made last month. The most significant gains in the sector were seen in administrative and support services (+35,000) and management and technical consulting services (+16,000). Healthcare also showed continued job growth in September.

UNEMPLOYMENT: Although it registered a very slight spike up to five percent in September, from 4.9 percent in August, the unemployment rate has hovered in the neighborhood of five percent for more than a year.

WAGES: Average hourly earnings rose by six cents in September, bringing the annual average increase to 2.6 percent.

WORK WEEK: The average work week edged up by 0.1 hour to 34.4 hours in September.

TEMPORARY JOB TRENDS: The temporary staffing sector expanded in September, with a gain of 23,200 jobs.

SO WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN? While September saw a good bump in employment, job growth throughout 2016 has not matched the pace set in the prior year. Tradition would point to the inevitable slowdown of economic expansion following a period of contraction. That is not necessarily the case now. The ongoing struggle to fill open positions may have more to do with the criticality of making the right hire, rather than simply making any hire. Employers are hesitant to make offers to candidates who do not meet their expectations, in terms of skills, experience and motivation.

Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Steinberg Employment Research, Bloomberg, CNBC, Business Insider, Staffing Industry Analysts, The Wall Street Journal