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142,000 Jobs Added in September, Unemployment Rate Remains Unchanged at 5.1%

142,000 Jobs Added in September, Unemployment Rate Remains Unchanged at 5.1%

The U.S. economy added 142,000 jobs in September and unemployment was unchanged at 5.1%, remaining at the same rate as the month before, according to figures released this morning by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

The jobs numbers for July and August were revised down by 59,000, making average job growth for the past three months substantially lower than in 2014. Job growth is slowing. 

Though Congress just passed a bill to fund the government until Dec. 11, thus avoiding a shutdown, the job-killing sequester remains in effect and the BLS job numbers underscore that the economy is still not delivering for working Americans. Average wage growth is stuck in a rut of around 2%, only slightly more than inflation, and last month's wages actually fell 1 cent. 

“The obviously disappointing September jobs numbers prove that the economy is still in a fragile state,” said AFL-CIO chief economist William E. Spriggs, Ph.D. “There can be no interest rate increase until we see persistent real wage growth that can sustain a family. We must insist on well-balanced economic policies that help working families.” 

AFL-CIO senior economic policy adviser Thomas Palley added:

Today’s employment report was a clear miss. It confirms what workers have long known. Though the economic recovery has been underway for over six years, its muscle tone has been persistently weak. The report should send a crystal clear message to policymakers in Washington, D.C. The Federal Reserve must hold-off raising rates until wages are robustly increasing; the administration must change our trade policies and put a stop to currency manipulation; and Congress must end the dangerous fiscal sequester and change our labor laws so that workers can bargain a fair share of productivity gains.

Last month’s biggest job gains were in health care (34,000), professional and business services (31,000), retail trade (24,000) and food services and drinking places (21,000). 

The mining industry lost 10,000 jobs. 

According to BLS, construction, manufacturing, wholesale trade, transportation and warehousing, financial activities and government industries showed little or no change in September.

In September, the unemployment rate for major worker groups remain unchanged: adult men (4.7%), adult women (4.6%), teenagers (16.3%), whites (4.4%), blacks (9.2%), Asians (3.6%) and Hispanics (6.4%).

The number of people unemployed for less than five weeks increased by 268,000 to 2.4 million in September. The number of long-term unemployed workers (people jobless for 27 weeks or more) was little changed at 2.1 million in September.

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