What appeared to be a slowing pace of jobs creation over the past three months has been reversed, based on current activity and upward revisions of the prior two months. The labor market added 336,000 jobs in September, along with a two-month combined bump of 119,000 jobs that increased previously reported numbers to 236,000 for July and 227,000 for August. September activity is ahead of the 12-month running average of 267,000.
The sectors reporting the highest changes in hiring included leisure and hospitality; government; healthcare; professional, scientific, and technical services; and social assistance.
The 3.8% unemployment rate was unchanged from August to September.
Average hourly earnings rose by 0.2% in September, contributing to a 12-month average increase of 4.2%.
The average work week for August increased slightly to 34.4 hours.
While the temp sector continued to contract in the past month, the number dropped significantly, with a loss of 4,200 jobs reported for September.
September’s unexpectedly strong report of jobs growth confounded analysts who were prepared for a far less rosy outlook. Despite some confusion and consternation by economists, robust hiring activity over the course of the summer signals a strong economy. Even as wage growth slows, consumer spending appears to be on the rise. More people have returned to (or entered) the workforce, generating the highest number of new jobs since January of 2023.
Fewer people are quitting, and more are being hired. The leisure and hospitality sector has finally returned to pre-pandemic levels, although that bar has yet to be crossed by all sectors, including accommodations and government.
September saw a bump in open positions in the labor market, rising from 8.9 million to 9.6 million openings. Workers are staying in place longer, which is as likely to signal concerns about mobility from employees as a strong focus on retention efforts by employers. The bottom line? Finding and keeping good talent remains a priority for every employer.
Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), CNBC, CNN, Staffing Industry Analysts, USA Today, NBC News, Reuters, Forbes, FOX Business.