Jobs numbers come in at expectations--no new fuel for the bounce but nothing to kill it either

10/07/2011 11:30 am EST


Jim Jubak

Founder and Editor,

The United States added 103,000 new jobs in September. That was up from a net zero new jobs in August and well above the consensus among economists, according to a survey by, of 60,000 jobs for September.

So why aren’t stocks dancing on Wall Street this morning?

Because once you do all the adding and subtracting that these numbers always require, the report this morning from the Bureau of Labor Statistics is just about what everyone was expecting.

The big statistical problem was the Verizon strike in August and its end in September. That took jobs out of the August report and added jobs to the September report. Revising the August numbers for that, as the Bureau of Labor Statistics did this morning, pushes the August job gains from zero to 47,000.

At the same time if you subtract the 45,000 Verizon jobs in September, since those really don’t represent new jobs, the jobs gains for the month fall to 58,000, or just about what economists had been projecting for the month.

That’s not to say there wasn’t good news in the report. Private payrolls added 137,000 jobs in September. That means the private economy is growing faster than the top line number indicates and that government layoffs, especially at the state and local level, are subtracting from that private sector growth. (Although again once you subtract the Verizon swing, private sector job growth came in at about the 83,000 projected by economists.)

Average hourly earnings grew by 0.2% and average weekly hours worked climbed to 34.3 in September from 34.2 in August. Income growth like that is essential for consumers to keep consuming.

And there was some bad news. The official unemployment rate stayed at 9.1% as the number of workers entering the workforce (or re-entering since the official unemployment number doesn’t count discouraged workers as unemployed.) Most of the new jobs were unfortunately part-time jobs. The official unemployment number counts those as jobs. The full (or real) unemployment rate, which counts discouraged workers who have stopped looking for work and workers with part-time jobs who would like full-time work, climbed to 16.5% in September from 16.2% in August.

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