Employment in September

It’s no secret our country has an issue with jobs.  The most recent recession cleaved jobs away quickly, and the recovery has been slow to bring them back.  Companies added 103,000 jobs in September according to the establishment survey, but this is not enough in a $14 trillion economy.  The household survey indicated the country’s unemployment rate remained unchanged at 9.1 percent.

The total of those without work will remain high so long as the labor force grows as fast as or faster than jobs can be added.  For instance, September’s household report shows 423,000 people joined the labor force but only 398,000 additional Americans were employed.  Of those unemployed, it is the long-term unemployed who have the most about which to be concerned.  This represents a sub-section of unemployment still deteriorating.  There was also a 3.4 percent jump in the number of people not working for 27 weeks or longer.   We find a silver lining in the report which shows hours worked and hourly wages both increased.  The workweek improved by six minutes to 34.3 hours while pay was boosted 0.2 percent after losing 0.1 percent in August.  This may seem small but when multiplied over a labor force as large as America’s it can make a difference. The payroll survey indicates 137,000 jobs were added by the private sector while 34,000 government employees lost jobs.

Here at Atlas we find much of the economy to be concerned about and jobs is one of the first items on our list.  Our sense is that things overall will likely worsen in the next twelve months, negatively impacting the employment market which in turn will put pressure on the economic and social characteristics of our country, perhaps even the world.