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Jobs increase in line with expectations

What the increase means for December rate hike

The total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 156,000 in September, according to a report today from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

“The more modest 156,000 gain in non-farm payrolls in September, combined with the tick up in the unemployment rate to a five-month high of 5.0%, won’t stop the Fed from hiking interest rates at the December FOMC meeting, but it should quell any speculation of a move at the November meeting,” Capital Economics Chief Economist Paul Ashworth said.

The ADP National Employment Report released Wednesday predicted jobs would increase by 154,000 in September.

On average, jobs gained 178,000 per month this year, down from an average of 229,000 per month in 2015. However, the increase is still up from August, when jobs increased by 151,000.

“The September employment data met expectations, roughly speaking,” said Curt Long, National Association of Federal Credit Unions chief economist. 

“While job growth was slightly less than anticipated, key areas like labor force participation and wage growth ticked up,” Long said. “The results keep the Fed on track to raise rates in December.”

Not everyone, however, agrees with that notion. In fact, one economist said this report makes more of a case against a rate hike.

“A blah September jobs report gives no impetus for anything on the economy's to do list: There's no sign of an overheating economy that would justify a rate hike; no ground swell of construction hiring that would finally hint at a return to a normal pace of housing starts; no big wage gains that would give hope for renewed productivity gains,” Redfin Chief Economist Nela Richardson said.

“Just a stubbornly average report at a time when the economy is looking for a jolt of the spectacular,” Richardson said.

In September, most employment gains occurred in professional and business services as well as in health care.

Here is a breakdown of the jobs gains:

  • Professional and business services employment increased 67,000
  • Health care increased 33,000
  • Food services and drinking places increased 30,000
  • Retail trade increased 22,000

Employment in other major industries, including construction, manufacturing, wholesale trade, transportation and warehousing, information, financial activities, mining and government, saw little change over the month.

“The latest jobs report shows softening monthly trend with 156,000 net new jobs in September,” said Lawrence Yun, National Association of Realtors chief economist.

“Given no major surprise in the data, the national outlook for real estate market remains essentially unchanged, with home sales expected to squeak out slight gains in 2016 and 2017 while commercial building vacancy rates should continue to fall,” Yun said.

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