More "Meh" From the September Jobs Report  

A blog about business and economics.
Oct. 22 2013 8:37 AM

Late Jobs Day Is Here

A "help wanted" sign is seen in the window of a laundromat in New York City.

Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images

Today we got a rare Tuesday Employment Situation Report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics since the September jobs numbers that were supposed to be released in the first week of October were delayed due to the government shutdown. The BLS reports 148,000 new jobs in September and the unemployment rate (along with related measures like the employment:population ratio) was very slightly down at 7.2 percent.

All in all a pretty dreary report in which America's steady-but-too-slow labor market recovery keeps trundling forward.


If you want a piece of good news, there's no increase in the number of involuntary part-time workers despite population growth and continued Obamacare hype.

An interesting fact is that the public sector added 22,000 jobs in September. During a typical business cycle, the government adds jobs at a steady pace during both recessions and recoveries. The Great Recession has been very unusual in that the recovery phase has featured a very consistent decline in public sector employment driven by a mix of state/local austerity and the ongoing unraveling of the United States Postal Service. If the austerity cycle is at an end and states and cities are back to hiring teachers and cops and bus drivers that'll be good news.

Though the release of these numbers was delayed by the shutdown, the jobs picture they provide is a pre-shutdown look at the American economy. It's next month's report that might be depressed by shutdown-induced furloughs and such.

Matthew Yglesias is the executive editor of Vox and author of The Rent Is Too Damn High.



More Than Scottish Pride

Scotland’s referendum isn’t about nationalism. It’s about a system that failed, and a new generation looking to take a chance on itself. 

What Charles Barkley Gets Wrong About Corporal Punishment and Black Culture

Why Greenland’s “Dark Snow” Should Worry You

Three Talented Actresses in Three Terrible New Shows

Why Do Some People See the Virgin Mary in Grilled Cheese?

The science that explains the human need to find meaning in coincidences.


Happy Constitution Day!

Too bad it’s almost certainly unconstitutional.

Is It Worth Paying Full Price for the iPhone 6 to Keep Your Unlimited Data Plan? We Crunch the Numbers.

What to Do if You Literally Get a Bug in Your Ear

  News & Politics
Sept. 16 2014 7:03 PM Kansas Secretary of State Loses Battle to Protect Senator From Tough Race
Sept. 16 2014 4:16 PM The iPhone 6 Marks a Fresh Chance for Wireless Carriers to Kill Your Unlimited Data
The Eye
Sept. 16 2014 12:20 PM These Outdoor Cat Shelters Have More Style Than the Average Home
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 15 2014 3:31 PM My Year As an Abortion Doula
  Slate Plus
Slate Plus Video
Sept. 16 2014 2:06 PM A Farewell From Emily Bazelon The former senior editor talks about her very first Slate pitch and says goodbye to the magazine.
Brow Beat
Sept. 16 2014 8:43 PM This 17-Minute Tribute to David Fincher Is the Perfect Preparation for Gone Girl
Future Tense
Sept. 16 2014 6:40 PM This iPhone 6 Feature Will Change Weather Forecasting
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 17 2014 7:30 AM Ring Around the Rainbow
Sports Nut
Sept. 15 2014 9:05 PM Giving Up on Goodell How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.