Intangible employment flatlines in Sept

This morning’s employment data from BLS for September is rather disappointing (even though the unemployment rate dropped significantly). Employment rose by only 661,000 compared to the 850,000 economists expected. All most all of that growth was in tangible producing goods and services industries. Similar to the previous months, increases occurred in industries where there is physical presence with customers, specifically Accommodation & Food Services and Trade, Transportation & Utilities.

On the intangible-producing side of the economy, employment grew modestly in almost every industry. But those gains were offset by a large drop in government employment, which the BLS says were mainly in state and local education – probably reflecting the slow return to the classroom.

Once again, under normal circumstances this would be a positive increase. However, in the age of COVID-19, this is only a modest rebound in employment. And keep in mind the worrisome trend of furloughed workers being permanently let go. Much more needs to be done.

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