US adds only 148,000 jobs in Sep but jobless rate slips to 7.2%

22 October 2013 14:48  [Source: ICIS news]

WASHINGTON (ICIS)--The US added only 148,000 jobs in September, the Department of Labor (DOL) said on Tuesday, lower than analysts’ expectations of about 180,000 new hires and just below the 150,000 level needed to accommodate first-time job seekers.

In its monthly report - delayed by two weeks because of the government shutdown - the department also said that the nation’s unemployment rate edged down to 7.2% in September from the 7.3% reading in August.

That slight decline in the jobless rate does not reflect increased employment. Instead, the unemployment rate eased because more than 800,000 “discouraged workers” gave up looking for a job and consequently were not included in the month’s unemployment figures.

The number of unemployed held steady at around 11.3m, the department said.

In addition to those without jobs, nearly 8m people are working part-time because they cannot find full-time jobs or their hours have been cut back.

The US economy should add about 150,000 jobs each month just to accommodate young people entering the workforce. Economists say that to make any significant headway in lowering the unemployment rate, the country would need to add 300,000 new jobs each month for multiple quarters.

Among the 148,000 jobs added in September, the department said that much of the hiring was in professional and business services (32,000), construction (20,000), wholesale trade (16,000), and transportation and warehousing (23,000).

Job losses were seen in the financial sector and the hotel and restaurant industry, among others.

Employment was unchanged in major industries such as mining and logging, manufacturing and information management.

The department also revised downward its estimate of jobs growth in July to 89,000 from the initial estimate of 104,000.  However, the August employment figure was revised upward to 193,000 from the earlier estimate of 169,000.

Paul Hodges studies key influences shaping the chemical industry in Chemicals and the Economy

By: Joe Kamalick
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