Commentary Magazine

A Dispiriting Jobs Report

Image by © Chat Roberts/Corbis.

The monthly jobs reports have not been very good in recent months, and the September figures are downright dismal. While economists were predicting 200,000 new jobs, only 142,000 were reported. While the unemployment rate, 5.1 percent, was the same as last month, the participation rate fell to 62.4 percent, the lowest level since October, 1977. In other words, the unemployment rate didn’t go up because people left the workforce rather finding jobs.

The jobs numbers for both July and August were revised downwards. For the last three months, job growth has averaged 167,000. For all of 2015, it has averaged 198,000. In 2014, it averaged 260,000.  Those are hardly encouraging numbers and the stock market sagged on the opening bell, but has been recovering. Bond yields also declined, with the 10-year treasury bond going below 2 percent.

With these numbers the Federal Reserve is unlikely to hike interest rates at its October meeting and so the day when the American economy will finally be back to normal is yet again postponed.

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