Not horrible, not wonderful - September's numbers were a tad disappointing, with only 148,000 jobs added to the rolls. The unemployment rate did drop to 7.2 percent from 7.3 percent, and unlike many previous declines, this one is the result of people actually finding work, not giving up and causing the job market to shrink. Another positive is that the monthly payroll reports have tended to be revised upward this year, which means that the initial 148,000 number may increase. And here in California, job growth continues to outpace the nation as a whole (even though the jobless rate is nearly two percentage points higher). Still, it's difficult to put much of a sheen on what's basically a blah report. By the way, the data does not reflect any economic impact from the government shutdown, but the Washington Post's Neil Irwin points out another complication:
The sequestration policy of automatic spending cuts that went into effect in March really are having an effect. It hasn't showed up much in the jobs reports in ways that can be easily measured (though federal government employment excluding the Postal Service is down 73,000 jobs over the last year, a 3.4 percent decline). But the workhorse economic models used in places like the Congressional Budget Office and Federal Reserve and private sector forecasters all show that the spending cuts should ripple through the economy and translate into less economic activity, and the soft job growth of the last few months fits that story to a tee.
Today's report had been delayed due to the government shutdown. State and local numbers for September have also been delayed.