September employment data

The delayed employment numbers for September were released by BLS this morning and, once again, indicate positive but little changed economy. The unemployment rate ticked down by 0.1% to 7.2% and payrolls grew by 148,000. The number of net new jobs was revised down for July but up for August. Economists has been predicting an increase of 180,000 jobs for September (see Bloomberg and WSJ).
A bit of bad news is that the total number of involuntary underemployed (part time for economic reasons) increased in September, reversing August’s dramatic declined. The number of those on slack work increased while the number of workers who could only find part time work dropped slightly. The increase in slack work may be due to cut backs due to the government shutdown. It is also unclear as to the effect of the ACA (aka ObamaCare). The drop in those who could only find part time work indicates that workers are not being shifted to part time. However, that shift to part time could be misreported in the statistics as part time due to slack work.
The slight good news is that even with the rise in involuntary underemployed in September, the trend line is down. As the chart below shows, however, we are still a long way from the pre-crash levels. Whether this is the remnants of a cyclical trend or reflects a structural change remains to be seen.
Involuntary underemployed September 2013.png

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