Economy, Regs, & Taxes

Unofficial Jobs Report: 166,000 Private-Sector Jobs Gained

One casualty of the government slowdown this month will be an "official" unemployment figure from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Oct. 4, 2013

One casualty of the government slowdown this month will be an “official” unemployment figure from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Because it’s a non-essential agency, the BLS halted its operations before the scheduled Friday release. Instead, economists and others who read the tea leaves will have to make do with a similar report. One from the private payroll firm ADP, which calculates its own employment figures based on their surveying and comes with a caution that they only assess private-sector jobs and not government work, came up with a figure of 166,000 jobs created. The BLS numbers will likely vary.

But comparing the September ADP numbers with those of July and August, it’s still apparent the economy is in a narrow trough of job creation. Their figures for those two months show 161,000 jobs added in July and 159,000 in August. That’s just treading water.

On the other hand, the Labor Department is still in operation and their weekly jobless claim report showed 308,000 new claims last week. That number, when added to the less volatile four-week rolling average economists prefer to use, shows the average is down to 305,000 – the lowest since May 2007. Yet workforce participation remains near all-time lows, so fewer new jobless claims is not as encouraging as it might be.

Meanwhile, the Gallup organization, which also tracks employment through a more unique ratio called P2P, or payroll to population, came out with a P2P number of 43.5 percent, down from 45.1 percent a year ago. Gallup’s version of the unemployment rate declined for the month, though, from a surprising 8.7% in August to 7.7% in September – more in line with the figure economists would anticipate had the BLS report been released.

There are a lot of numbers out there, but they point to an economy still struggling and not providing a lot of hope to those whose personal unemployment rate is 100%.

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