Econ-versation: Labor Department report displays Sept. employment data

Silvia Buonocore, Senior Writer

Following manufacturing slowdowns in the United States and the World Trade Organization’s recent projection of global trade decreases, the Labor Department’s report provides optimistic news in the area of employment.

The report, released on Oct. 4, summarizes employment data in the United States for the month of Sept. The unemployment rate decreased by 0.2 percentage points to 3.5 percent, the lowest it has been in 50 years. Additionally, the country added 136,000 jobs in non-farm payroll employment, which excludes job additions of farmworkers and private household workers. According to the report, the healthcare industry and business were the main drivers of the employment additions.

The data for this report is derived from two surveys: the establishment survey and the household survey. The establishment survey collects data for each industry concerning employment, hours, and earnings. The household survey collects data regarding the labor force (whether people are employed, unemployed, or out of the labor force) and sorts the data by demographic groups.

The establishment survey showed that the healthcare industry added 39,000 jobs, the professional and business services industry added 34,000 jobs, the government-industry added 22,000 jobs and the transportation and warehousing industry added 16,000 jobs. Other industries – such as manufacturing, financial activities and construction – did not demonstrate much change in job additions in September.

Also, according to the data from the establishment survey, while average hourly earnings increased by 2.9 percent over the last 12 months, they showed little change in September. The average workweek of 34.4 hrs also remained unchanged in this report.

Based on the household survey, the unemployment rate decreased to 3.2 percent for Whites. However, the rates for men, women, teens, Blacks, Asians, and Hispanics did not have any significant change over the course of September.

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