10/8– Weekly Economic Highlights
Oct 8, 2021 | Weekly Highlights
Job growth was weaker than expected in September, but the unemployment rate fell below 5% for the first time since March 2020. U.S. nonfarm payrolls increased by 194,000 in September, versus the consensus forecast of 500,000. However, July and August payrolls were revised up a total of 169,000. On a trailing 3-month and 6-month basis, payrolls increased at a solid pace, up an average of 550,000 and 582,000 per month, respectively. The U-3 unemployment rate declined to 4.8% in September from 5.2% in August, a bigger decline than expected. The labor participation rate declined slightly to 61.6% in September and remains lower than the pre-pandemic level of 63.4%. The employment-population ratio increased modestly to 58.7%, but also remains below the pre-pandemic level of 61.1%. The U-6 underemployment rate, which includes those who are marginally attached to the labor force and employed part time for economic reasons, declined to 8.5% in September from 8.8% in August (versus 7.0% in February 2020). Annualized average hourly earnings were up by 4.6% in September versus 4.0% in August, reflecting strong wage growth driven in part by the ongoing imbalance in the supply and demand for labor. Although labor force participation has been slow to recover and more than 7.6 million people remain unemployed in the US, the labor market has made significant progress over the past year.