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The 'better-than-expected' September jobs report
The feds offer a glimmer of hope by announcing that the long-stalled economy added 103,000 jobs in September
A New Jersey job fair: The September jobs report revealed a gain in private sector jobs and a loss in the public, which evens out to better than nothing.
A New Jersey job fair: The September jobs report revealed a gain in private sector jobs and a loss in the public, which evens out to better than nothing.
Amanda Brown/Star Ledger/Corbis
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n a welcome contrast to August's "horrific" jobs report, which showed zero jobs added to the economy that month, the September numbers are at least being greeted as "better than expected." On Friday, the Labor Department reported that the economy added 103,000 jobs in September, and that unemployment remained at 9.1 percent. The private sector added 137,000 jobs, while the public sector lost 34,000. The report also revised the August estimates — from zero jobs added to a 57,000-job gain. Is this a beacon of hope?

Yes. This should ease fears of a double-dip recession: This report is "further evidence that the danger of slipping back into recession is likely not imminent," says Zachary Roth at Yahoo! News. Sure, the 103,000 jobs added last month didn't change the unemployment rate, but the news is cheerier than the 60,000-job gain economists predicted. Plus, the revision to those August numbers helps make the whole jobs picture a bit less worrisome than we thought a month ago.
"Economy added more jobs than expected last month"

This is only "mildly good news": Let's keep things in perspective, says Ed Morrissey at Hot Air. Forty-five thousand of the "new" jobs created in September are actually just Verizon workers who had been on strike and returned to work. If you don't count those jobs, only 58,000 were added, pretty much what analysts had anticipated. However you figure it, "this isn't a blockbuster jobs report." Better than August, yes, but "not a sign of impending growth."
"Unemployment rate steady at 9.1%, 103K jobs added"

The long-term outlook remains bleak: This superficially encouraging report "shouldn't distract from the labor market's increasingly woeful state," says Kelly Evans at The Wall Street Journal. We've seen slow job growth following recessions before, but this is particularly dire. "No catalyst like the housing market appears ready to spur economic growth and hiring today as in 2004, when the economy began picking up after the last downturn." And the labor market is in far worse shape now, in terms of the unemployment rate and the average length of unemployment. "The U.S. labor market is starting to calcify," and when it's this brittle, it "doesn't take much to shatter."
"Data can't mask a dour labor situation"

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