The Bureau of Labor Statistics released the monthly Employment Situation Summary this morning, which reported 336,000 jobs added in September. This is the strongest gain since January. Employers are struggling to find workers as labor force participation holds steady at 62.8% and unemployment remained the same at 3.8%. Job gains for July and August were revised up with this morning’s release, both to over 200,000 added jobs. Summer hiring appears to have been more vigorous than previously reported, and after the labor market’s strong showing today the question remains: Will we see more rate hikes from the Fed?
The ADP National Employment Report was released this past Wednesday and showed an increase of only 89,000 private jobs in September. Most were lost by large establishments, which wiped out recent job gains. Nela Richardson, Chief Economist for ADP, reported that “We are seeing a steepening decline in jobs this past month. Additionally, we are seeing a steady decline in wages in the past 12 months.”
September brought a grim report for US Consumer Confidence as the index declined for the second month in a row. The Expectations Index fell back below the recession threshold from 83.3 to 73.7 this past month, showing increased fears of a coming recession. “Consumer confidence fell again in September 2023, marking two consecutive months of decline,” said Dana Peterson, Chief Economist at The Conference Board. “September’s disappointing headline number reflected another decline in the Expectations Index, as the Present Situation Index was little changed. Write-in responses showed that consumers continued to be preoccupied with rising prices in general, and for groceries and gasoline in particular.”
Leisure and hospitality led job gains in September with 96,000 added jobs, within the sector, food services and drinking places added 61,000 jobs, accommodation added 16,000 jobs. Government employment increased by 73,000 jobs and health care added 41,000 jobs. Employment in professional, scientific, and technical services increased by 29,000 jobs while social assistance added 25,000 jobs. Employment changed little in transportation and warehousing, construction, manufacturing, wholesale trade, and retail trade. The average hourly earnings for nonfarm payrolls increased by 7 cents and over the past 12 months has increased 4.2%.