Nonfarm payroll employment increased in 33 states and the District of Columbia in December.
Courtesy Adobe Stock/arhon

Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 336,000 in September, a number considerably above the average monthly gain of 267,000 over the prior 12 months, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) latest jobs report.

Last month, the job gains occurred in leisure and hospitality; government; health care; professional, scientific, and technical services; and social assistance.

“The Fed’s attempt to slow the economy through higher rates has taken much longer than expected. Despite 11 short-term increases, the economy in September added the most jobs since the beginning of the year,” says Zonda chief economist Ali Wolf. “The better-than-expected jobs report has a direct impact on the housing market via mortgage rates. The bond selloff continued following this report, putting more upward pressure on mortgage rates.”

According to the BLS, the major labor market indicators from the survey of households showed little or no change over the month. The unemployment rate held at 3.8% in September, and the number of unemployed persons was essentially unchanged at 6.4 million.

Both the labor force participation rate, at 62.8%, and the employment-population ratio, at 60.4%, were unchanged over the month.

The number of long-term unemployed, or those jobless for 27 weeks or more, was little changed at 1.2 million and accounted for 19.1% of all unemployed persons. The number of persons employed part-time for economic reasons, at 4.1 million, changed little as well. The number of persons not in the labor force who currently want a job was 5.5 million, little different from the prior month.

Among those not in the labor force who wanted a job, the number of persons marginally attached to the labor force changed little at 1.5 million. The number of discouraged workers, a subset of the marginally attached who believed that no jobs were available for them, also changed little over the month at 367,000.

The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for July was revised up by 79,000, from +157,000 to +236,000, and the change for August was revised up by 40,000, from +187,000 to +227,000. With these revisions, employment in July and August combined is 119,000 higher than previously reported.

“Overall, this report is generally consistent with a ‘higher-for-longer’ monetary policy stance, especially when considering the economic activity reflected in today’s report primarily occurred prior to the recent run-up in rates,” says Doug Duncan, chief economist at Fannie Mae. “The robust payroll employment number, particularly when contrasted against the moderating wage growth and the weaker household survey employment figure, shows that today’s report offered additional mixed economic news for market participants.”