When the government shut down this month, so did the data-collecting and -analyzing wing of the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), which meant no jobs report. (ADP and Moody's, being a partnership of two private companies, issued their report as usual, which showed that the economy added 166,000 jobs in September.)
Today is the BLS's makeup game after the rain delay, and the federal economists are showing their rust. Jobs numbers came in at 148,000 new jobs added to the United States economy last month. This is off the very low end of economists' expectations. With the long lead time this month, there was plenty of time for speculation. So anticipation of the number of jobs added in September ranged from 155,000 to 240,000.
The unemployment rate did edge down to 7.2 percent (from 7.3 percent in August), but since the monthly jobs gains came in at or under the rate needed to keep up with population growth, this drop is most likely attributable to more people leaving the labor force, a trend we've seen plenty of over the past few years.
The construction sector rebounded by adding 20,000 new jobs, after a flat August and, frankly, flat most of 2013. Of these construction jobs, 12,000 were nonresidential (building construction plus specialty trade contractors) while 5,300 were in residential. This is the inverse of what we've seen for the past year as we've watched the housing market recover from its doldrums.
In all, a disappointing report that we had to wait too long to see.
|Not Seasonally Adjusted||Seasonally Adjusted|
|Industry(numbers are in thousands)||Sept. 2012||July 2013||Aug. 2013||Sept. 2013||Sept. 2012||July 2013||Aug. 2013||Sept. 2013||Change from Aug. to Sept.|
|Architectural and engineering services||1335.4||1373.9||1371.4||1361.6||1327.5||1354.0||1353.5||1354.3||0.8|
|Residential building construction||590.7||607.4||609.3||604.6||571.9||584.7||585.4||586.6||1.2|
|Nonresidential building construction||675.7||698.6||696.3||698.9||660.1||681.9||678.3||683.5||5.2|
|Heavy and civil engineering construction||945.6||948.8||961.2||964.5||877.3||891.2||893.4||895.9||2.5|
|Specialty trade contractors||3663.3||3805.5||3820.2||3793.3||3523.2||3646.2||3648.9||3659.8||10.9|