More "Meh" From the September Jobs Report  

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

Late Jobs Day Is Here

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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.

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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.

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