Unemployment Rate Drops Back to 3.5%
Despite contributing to an average monthly increase of 402,000 new jobs, the pace of jobs growth slowed further in September, with 263,000 new jobs, down from 315,000 last month.
In the month of September, the biggest job gains were recorded in leisure and hospitality and healthcare. Upward trends were also noted for business and professional services, construction, and manufacturing.
Returning to a pre-pandemic rate, last reached in July, the unemployment rate was 3.5% for September.
Average hourly earnings continued to move slightly higher, increasing 0.3% in September, contributing to an annual average hourly increase of 5.0%.
The average work week maintained a four-month trend of 34.5 hours.
Temporary Job Trends:
The temporary help sector fared well in September, adding 27,200 new jobs over the month.
What does it all mean?
The September labor market offers optimism, despite growing concerns about a looming recession and isolated announcements of hiring freezes and layoffs. The positive bump in temporary staffing may also be an indicator that employers are focused on maintaining agility through the flexibility that comes with contingent hires, as they possibly pull back on more permanent hiring plans. The consensus among economists and analysts appears to be that the post-pandemic labor market is cooling.
Any slowdown in activity does not appear to be fast enough to slow interest rate increases coming from the Federal Reserve. Nor is it having any appreciable impact on the tight talent supply chain. Many business leaders are hesitant to commit to long-term hiring plans. Within this environment, small businesses and other employers who are hiring continue to report challenges in finding quality talent and securing good matches for their businesses.
Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), The New York Times, CNN, CNBC, Staffing Industry Analysts, American Staffing Association, The Washington Post, MarketWatch, CBS News