September 2016 Jobs Report: A Mixed Bag Of Mostly Good News

by David Grasso, GenFKD

The Bureau of Labor Statistics released its much awaited September 2016 jobs report, and the results were fairly decent, but still missed expectations.

Total nonfarm payrolls grew by 156,000 in the month of September, falling shy of expectations that around 175,000 jobs would be added. The unemployment rate creeped up a notch from 4.9 percent to 5.0 percent: that reflects people returning to the workforce because of more job opportunity. There are almost 8 million people who are unemployed in America today, according to these statistics.

Industries with the most notable last month growth include business services (+67,000), healthcare (+33,000), and foodservice (+30,000), and retail trade (+22,000). Jobs in other major industries were largely unchanged from last month. Mining and manufacturing, was unchanged in September, following a large slide (-220,000) from a peak reached in September 2014.

The labor participation rate changed little from last month, holding steady at 62.9 percent. The number of people employed part time that would like full-time jobs also didn’t change substantially, standing at 5.9 million.

 The utility of these numbers

The most heated policy discussion that’s frequently heard in the economic world today is whether it’s time to raise interest rates. After all, interest rates have been at near-zero levels for the better part of the last decade—something that no one ever previously imagined could happen.

There have been loud calls for the Federal Reserve’s interest rate to start moving up and further away from zero to avoid an overheating economy and other asset bubbles. The jobs report is usually the most compelling piece of evidence that the Fed uses to make their moves.

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