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The Employment Situation – September 2019

The Employment Situation September 2019


As per the employment situation report for September, the unemployment rate is reduced by 0.2 percentage points to reach 3.5 percent. With this, the unemployment rate is said to have reached a 50-year low, matching the figures of December 1969.

Major Ups and Downs in September

The unemployment rate has remained below 4 percent for the 19th month in a row. The unemployment rate stands at a 50-year low, which highlights further strengthening of the labor market in the United States.

The month of September has witnessed positive changes in job creation, where the total non-farm payrolls rose by 136,000. However, this figure is considerably lesser compared to the month-on-month for 2019, which stands at 161,000. It is also lower than the overall average for 2018, which stood at 223,000. 

The total payroll for July and August has been revised, and where the total payroll increase for these months is increased to 159,000 and 168,000 respectively. In comparison to these months, it is evident that the payroll increase for September is low.

One of the positive indicators for the month of September is that the rate of discouraged workers has come down by 0.3 percent points, matching the 19-year low record. It is also just 0.1 percent away from matching the all-time low figure of 6.8 percent.

In spite of the drop in the unemployment rate, there are other important concerns that are reflected in the report published by the employment situation report for September published by Bureau of Labor Statistics. One of the main issues highlighted in the report is that on wage growth. Over the last 12 months, wages have increased by 2.9 percent, which is the lowest since July 2018.

The reducing rate of job creation and low growth of wages will still remain to be a matter of concern in spite of the drop in the unemployment rate.

Establishment Survey Data

The payroll growth is below average for the month of September (136,000), which is lesser than the forecast made by experts (145,000). Sectors that have performed well in the month are health care and in professional and business services, which have added a major chunk of jobs.

The Health Care sector has added 39,000 jobs in September, which is in line with its average monthly gain for the last 12 months. The Professional and Business Services sector, on the other hand, has added 34,000 jobs in the month, which is marginally lesser than its monthly average for 2019, which stands at 35,000. 

Other sectors such as Transportation and Warehousing and Government sectors too have seen an upward trend in September, with each sector adding 16,000 and 22,000 jobs respectively. 

The sector with most job loss for September is Retail Trade, which has recorded a payroll loss of 11,000 for September. The report states that since its peak in 2017, the sector has lost nearly 197,000 jobs.

Sectors such as Mining, Construction, Manufacturing, Wholesale Trade, Information, Financial Activities, and Leisure and Hospitality have seen little to no change in its performance for the month.

Household Survey Data

The unemployment rate has come down marginally for most of the major worker groups. The unemployment rate for major worker groups stands at:

Workers GroupsUnemployment Rates
Adult Men3.2 percent
Adult Women3.1 percent
Teenagers12.5 percent


Workers GroupsUnemployment Rates
White population3.2 percent
Black population5.5 percent
Hispanic population3.9 percent
Asian population2.5 percent

The unemployment rate has come down for marginally for adult men, women and teenagers. Among the racial groups, unemployment rate Hispanics have seen a reasonable improvement, which has come down for 4.2 percent to 3.9 percent. The unemployment rate has come down for the Asian population as well, but there has been no change in the rate for the black population.

Final Analysis

There have been some very positive improvements in the employment situation for the month of September. The unemployment rate has reached a 50-year low, and there has been an increase in the new entrants in the job market. The job market has also witnessed a decline in the number of job losers and persons who completed temporary jobs. 

These developments mark a positive trend, but there are some challenges too that need to be addressed. Issues such as low wage growth and low growth of payroll are considerably important issues that need to be addressed at the earliest.


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