September’s Job Gains Back to 200,000+

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Source: BLS “The Employment Situation report – September 2014”

The job market is looking up! The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released its September 2014 unemployment report this morning, showing an overall monthly gain of 248,000 jobs – considerably higher than last month’s reported gain of 142,000. The unemployment rate also saw an impressive decline of 0.2 percentage points, dropping from 6.1 percent to 5.9 percent, which is the lowest rate we’ve seen since September, 2008.

Revisions to prior months show that both July and August experienced more growth than was previously reported. The July payroll number was revised from +212,000 to +243,000 and the August number was revised from +142,000 to +180,000. That makes a combined 69,000 more jobs than initially reported.

A closer look at industries

September saw the highest increase in employment within the professional and business, retail trade and health care sectors. The professional and business services sector had the largest gain (+81,000 – compared with the average gain of 56,000 per month over the past 12 months), with numerous sub-sectors showing positive gains, including employment services (+34,000), management and technical consulting services (+12,000), and temporary help services (+19,700). Retail trade rose by 35,000, seeing growth within food services and beverage stores (+20,000). Health care added 23,000 jobs, comparable to the 12-month average gain of 20,000 new jobs per month.

Other good news

Taking revisions from the past two months, overall job growth has averaged 213,000 over the past year and 223,667 over the past three months. This time last year, the job gains were hovering between 150,000 and 200,000. Increases in our third quarter average are a clear indicator that 2014 has been the year of job growth.

Additionally, the number of discouraged workers – or those not currently looking for work because they believe no jobs are available to them – is down by 154,000 from September 2013. With last month’s decrease, and this month’s jump of almost +100,000 workers, economists are curious to see what will happen as we transition into the fourth quarter.