Weak jobs report

It's hard to sugarcoat the loss of 95,000 jobs in September, considerably worse than what economists had been expecting. The takeaway from this morning's report is an economy that's slogging along at an even slower pace than during the summer. Much of last month's job loss is due to the elimination of 159,000 government positions (77,000 from temporary Census Bureau slots). The private sector added 64,000 jobs, which won't begin to make a dent into the backlog of folks looking for work. This report could nudge the Federal Reserve into some sort of monetary action, though who knows how much of an effect that would have. From the NYT:

Critics have been calling for government officials to use some of the arrows remaining in their quiver to try to speed up job growth. Congress has been stuck in a partisan stalemate ahead of the November elections, but Federal Reserve officials seem to be hinting that they undertake more unconventional monetary policy measures to try to encourage hiring and ward off deflation. Many expect the Fed to act at its next meeting in early November. "Another weak private payroll employment number seems like it would intensify calls for the Fed to act," said Nigel Gault, chief United States economist at IHS Global Insight. "We'd really need a big upside surprise to justify the case for not doing anything."

The unemployment rate, which is calculated with a separate household survey, remained unchanged at 9.6 percent. But the government's broader measure of unemployment, which includes folks who have stopped looking for work or who can't find full-time jobs, rose to 17.1 percent, down just slightly from the October 2009 high of 17.4 percent. All told, it's not that surprising, but still disappointing. Here's the government's press release.

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Mark Lacter
Mark Lacter created the LA Biz Observed blog in 2006. He posted until the day before his death on Nov. 13, 2013.
Mark Lacter, business writer and editor was 59
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