Unemployment steady at 9.6%, 95,000 jobs lost in September; Update: “Unexpectedly”; Update: “Unexpectedly” unexpectedly deleted

posted at 8:44 am on October 8, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

The unemployment rate continued at its August level in September, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, steady at 9.6% despite the net loss of almost 100,000 jobs in the month.  That mainly came from Census Bureau layoffs and local government cutbacks, which totaled 159,000.  The private sector added 64,000 jobs, fewer than in August and well below the level needed to keep up with population growth:

Nonfarm payroll employment edged down (-95,000) in September, and the unemployment rate was unchanged at 9.6 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Government employment declined (-159,000), reflecting both a drop in the number of temporary jobs for Census 2010 and job losses in local government. Private-sector payroll employment continued to trend up modestly (+64,000).

There was further bad news in the expansion of underemployed and chronically unemployed.  The underemployed grew by 612,000 in September, and is now at 9.5 million people.  The chronically unemployed went to 2.5 million, up 300,000 from a year ago.  Among the latter group were 1.2 million discouraged workers, up over 500,000 from a year ago.

The winners in job additions were health care, food services and drinking places, employment services, and a slight bump in mining.  Manufacturing stayed flat, which may be the best possible outcome, considering the setbacks to manufacturing during “Recovery Summer.”  Construction lost 21,000 jobs.

Yesterday, Gallup warned that serious job losses occurred in the final two weeks of the month, and that the BLS data would likely miss it in this report.  If true (ADP also saw private-sector losses), then next month’s report will look significantly worse.  Meanwhile, this number may not generate a lot of bad press, but it certainly won’t help Democrats trying to make the case for another term in office.

Update: The AP gives this a straightforward treatment:

A wave of government layoffs last month outpaced weak hiring in the private sector, pushing down the nation’s payrolls by a net total of 95,000 jobs.

The Labor Department says the unemployment rate held at 9.6 percent. The jobless rate has now topped 9.5 percent for 14 straight months, the longest stretch since the 1930s.

The private sector added 64,000 jobs, the weakest showing since June.

Private sector growth wasn’t exactly beating down the doors in August or July, either, but the AP is correct in noting that it’s going in the wrong direction.

Update II: This is now officially bad news for the White House and Congressional Democrats.  Reuters has used — the U word.  In fact, they used a form of it twice in the same sentence:

The U.S. economy unexpectedly shed jobs in September for a fourth straight month as government payrolls fell and private hiring was less than expected, hardening expectations of further Federal Reserve action to spur the recovery.

Nonfarm payrolls dropped 95,000, the Labor Department said on Friday. Private employment, a better gauge of labor market health, increased 64,000 after rising 93,000 in August. A total of 77,000 temporary jobs for the decennial census were terminated last month.

Analysts polled by Reuters had expected overall payrolls would be unchanged, with private-sector hiring gaining 75,000.

That makes it double-plus ungood … unexpectedly, of course.

Update III: I wrote “inflation” where I meant “population growth.” Late night, not enough coffee this morning. My apologies.

Update IV: Steve McGough at Radio Vice Online beholds the power of Hot Air.  Reuters has unexpectedly removed the U-word from its lead paragraph:

I find the entire unexpectedly kerfuffle quite funny. The word is constantly overused by news organizations like the Associated Press and Reuters, and now when first-string bloggers make note of the word usage – and make fun of its use – the organizations continue to use the word only to pull it from copy within an hour or so.

I find it amusing, too, especially the belated intervention of the editor.


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Welcome to the new normal; 10% is now the baseline on which to measure growth or decline.

Nice job PBHO, nice job demorats, managing to tumble this nation into the depths with your stupidity.

Bishop on October 8, 2010 at 10:46 AM

Funny you should mention that; guess it’s time to update the 9.6% – then and now post </self-promotion-shameless>

steveegg on October 8, 2010 at 11:06 AM

I’m unexpectedly shocked! Unexpectedly, I tells ya!

madmonkphotog on October 8, 2010 at 11:12 AM

More stimulus! We need trillions more!
darwin on October 8, 2010 at 8:47 AM

And dozens, nay, hundreds of tunnels dug between NJ and NY!
— Der Krugmeister

ya2daup on October 8, 2010 at 11:14 AM

Yep, it’s holding steady, what does anyone expect?

This administration and congress have done nothing but stifle economic growth… just a few more months.

reaganaut on October 8, 2010 at 11:24 AM

IntheNet on October 8, 2010 at 8:49 AM

forest on October 8, 2010 at 8:54 AM

Vashta.Nerada on October 8, 2010 at 9:26 AM

Ahem, copied from the Obamateurism thread,

As I have to say on multiple different conservative websites every month, NFP, unemployment rate, and 1st time unemployment claims come from 3 different surveys measuring 2 figures (jobs and unemployed) in different ways.
jarodea on October 8, 2010 at 10:15 AM

Actual U.S. Unemployment: 15.8%
===============================

canopfor on October 8, 2010 at 8:56 AM

Ahh, Thank you dogsoldier

The U6 number is now back up to 17.1% and the real number of unemployed continues to increase. Reality is actually over 22% now: http://www.shadowstats.com/alternate_data/unemployment-charts

dogsoldier on October 8, 2010 at 9:03 AM

Analysts polled by Reuters had expected overall payrolls would be unchanged, with private-sector hiring gaining 75,000.
Maybe we need a new set of analysts.

rbj on October 8, 2010 at 9:26 AM

Private sector gained 64k jobs according to the report, so not too bad for the analysts. The overall number was further off due to the, yes, unexpected slashing of state and local workers.

Not correct. its been almost twenty four months. Or am I in an alternate reality?

Didn’t some knucklehead say the recession is over? Does that mean we should call it a depression now? The economy is following THAT model after all.

Reuters and AP need to stop polling the idiots that insist that happy days are here again and find some actual economists to talk to.

dogsoldier on October 8, 2010 at 10:48 AM

There was some job growth earlier in the year, fueled mostly by Census hiring. The last 4 months of job losses have been fuelled by Census firing. The Census giveth, the Census taketh away, and all that.

Anyways, get off the Gallup number people. It is not seasonally adjusted and cannot be compared to statistics which are. Even if it was, were all of you new found Gallup unemployment lovers popping out the bubbly as “recovery summer” brought the unemployment rate down to 8.6% in July?

jarodea on October 8, 2010 at 11:27 AM

AP and Reuters – asshats seperated at birth – you decide

PatriotPete on October 8, 2010 at 11:31 AM

Wasn’t it 9.7% last month?

sandee on October 8, 2010 at 8:51 AM

..and the chocolate ration was raised from 30 grams to 25 grams per week and we are *still* at war with Eurasia.

The War Planner on October 8, 2010 at 11:04 AM

No, as Ed’s post notes it was 9.6%. I recall reading that last month, no clue where the “unemployment rate was 9.7% in August” thing started. It’s easy find the numbers. You can give Orwell a rest at least on this point.

jarodea on October 8, 2010 at 11:32 AM

Employment increased in “drinking places” ??
I think the President should tout the fact that his administration has increased the number of bartenders since more Americans are hitting the bars now.

Texas Mike on October 8, 2010 at 11:37 AM

And this part is lost in the article-

The government revised data for July and August to show 15,000 more jobs lost than previously reported.

It also said its preliminary benchmark revision estimate indicated employment in the 12 months to March had been overstated by 366,000. The unemployment rate was unchanged at 9.6 percent in August.

PatriotPete on October 8, 2010 at 11:37 AM

“…steady at 9.6% despite the net loss of almost 100,000 jobs in the month.”

Amazing how on every 15 minute news cast on AM radio is declaring this as good news…

… The propaganda ministry must be working overtime.

Seven Percent Solution on October 8, 2010 at 11:38 AM

Can’t wait for Nov 3rd headlines:

Breaking: Democrats Unexpectedly Removed From Power—Liberals, Children Hardest Hit

Rovin on October 8, 2010 at 11:42 AM

And this part is lost in the article-
The government revised data for July and August to show 15,000 more jobs lost than previously reported.

It also said its preliminary benchmark revision estimate indicated employment in the 12 months to March had been overstated by 366,000. The unemployment rate was unchanged at 9.6 percent in August.
PatriotPete on October 8, 2010 at 11:37 AM

15k is pretty low for a 2 month adjustment. They often go well into 6 figures (and sometimes even more years later when the final “official” jobs numbers are released). I’m not sure if you’re trying to link the massive revision to last years job losses with the unchanged unemployment rate. I’d hope not because somewhere above… something about 2 different surveys… 2 different methods of measurement…

jarodea on October 8, 2010 at 11:48 AM

“…fewer than in August and well below the level needed to keep up with population growth”

Ahah!Now we know why Dems love abortion. It’s the only way they can create enough jobs for everyone….

Don L on October 8, 2010 at 11:55 AM

It also said its preliminary benchmark revision estimate indicated employment in the 12 months to March had been overstated by 366,000. The unemployment rate was unchanged at 9.6 percent in August.


Unexpected.

KinleyArdal on October 8, 2010 at 11:57 AM

Government “jobs”, particularly the census, are little different than welfare, as the value produced by those people is close to nil.

Government hasn’t a dollar it doesn’t take in one way or another from the private sector, which added jobs but not fast enough to absorb the transfer of government jobs to the welfare rolls or to accomodate the birthrate.

Until the bloated government sector is trimmed drastically and their pay arrangements changed downward to reflect the market value of the work performed, government will run deficits. Theo only cure to deficits is private sector growth, which has to come out of less government and taxation/regulation.

The private sector is unlikely to grow well with government as adversary or mentor. Government, next to labor unions, are the least innovative of organizations in any country. The private sector thrives on freedom and innovation; government and unions seek and enforce conformity to rigid policy.

So Junior will continue to see a failing economy, and is committed to such, as a socialist. His blather to the contrary is from the teleprompter.

Harry Schell on October 8, 2010 at 11:57 AM

Unexpected — out. Surprising — in. Changing of the memes.

Paul-Cincy on October 8, 2010 at 12:03 PM

Amazing how on every 15 minute news cast on AM radio is declaring this as good news…

… The propaganda ministry must be working overtime.

Seven Percent Solution on October 8, 2010 at 11:38 AM

Seven Percent Solution:Now that is the truth,up here,we
have AM Talk Radio,Rush-Hannity,
then CoastoCoast later on,and I
hear the rosy Top of the News Hour
radio spots!

Glad I’m not alone on that!!:)

canopfor on October 8, 2010 at 12:07 PM

BS the rate remained 9.6% – these people are spewing pure propaganda in a desperate effort to stave off calamity at the elections.

Midas on October 8, 2010 at 12:08 PM

Harry Schell on October 8, 2010 at 11:57 AM

Two thumbs up ++!

belad on October 8, 2010 at 12:20 PM

I find it amusing, too, especially the belated intervention of the editor.

Ed’s just toying with them nowadays….like a cat kicking around a mouse….

Blogger of the Year. BEHOLD!

ted c on October 8, 2010 at 12:49 PM

Unexpected — out. Surprising — in. Changing of the memes.

Paul-Cincy on October 8, 2010 at 12:03 PM

Synomemes

Immolate on October 8, 2010 at 12:54 PM

Is Barry gonna give a statement on this? I’d love to hear how he spins this one.

Doughboy on October 8, 2010 at 9:17 AM

Unfortunately, he did.

Based on Austan Goolsbee’s fantasy tale (put out by WH), Obama said ‘(the jobs trend) is headed towards the RIGHT DIRECTION!’

Sir Napsalot on October 8, 2010 at 12:57 PM

Unexpected — out. Surprising — in. Changing of the memes.
Paul-Cincy on October 8, 2010 at 12:03 PM

I’m still waiting for “Inconceivable!”

Fallon on October 8, 2010 at 1:01 PM

Ummmm, where are the trolls?

Sir Napsalot on October 8, 2010 at 1:06 PM

Update: “Unexpectedly” unexpectedly deleted

You know, it’s funny…. the word ‘unexpectedly” is so overused in the lamestream press that it has become a complete joke everywhere.

I even see snarky references to it on motorcycle blogs and other internet hangouts where I frequent.

UltimateBob on October 8, 2010 at 1:16 PM

There was some job growth earlier in the year, fueled mostly by Census hiring. The last 4 months of job losses have been fuelled by Census firing. The Census giveth, the Census taketh away, and all that.
jarodea on October 8, 2010 at 11:27 AM

You’re welcome!

Except they counted a lot of workers five or ten times. Drudge has it up in red at the moment – 14 months. The U6 has been over ten for a very long time.

dogsoldier on October 8, 2010 at 1:17 PM

Nothing another Trillion dollar bath in our kids and grandkids savings won’t fix.

Alden Pyle on October 8, 2010 at 1:21 PM

hardening expectations of further Federal Reserve action to spur the recovery.

And here lie the seeds of the next great disaster! It is not the Fed’s job to “spur the recovery.” Nor is it the Fed’s job to improve employment numbers. The Fed was created with one goal in mind, to regulate the money supply to keep the dollar stable. It has failed spectacularly at that and has instead become another political tool of the WH.

Chasing political goals at the expense of monetary stability spells doom and gloom in our future.

MJBrutus on October 8, 2010 at 1:23 PM

The contents of this posting was unexpected.

ButterflyDragon on October 8, 2010 at 1:27 PM

What no change?

CWforFreedom on October 8, 2010 at 1:36 PM

I’m still waiting for “Inconceivable!”

Fallon on October 8, 2010 at 1:01 PM

you have to slur it ….with a lisp…and spittle when you say it.

ted c on October 8, 2010 at 1:36 PM

The only thing unexpected for me, is the constant, and incessant stupidity still coming from the media. Then again…it’s not all that shocking now…is it!

capejasmine on October 8, 2010 at 1:38 PM

Good news: The ship has started to level off.
Bad news: Because it has reached the bottom of the ocean.

“Oh what fools we are to believe
Those who practice to deceive”.

MaiDee on October 8, 2010 at 1:52 PM

I’m still waiting for “Inconceivable!”

Fallon on October 8, 2010 at 1:01 PM
you have to slur it ….with a lisp…and spittle when you say it.

ted c on October 8, 2010 at 1:36 PM

You keep using that word; I do not think it means what you think it means…

;)

Midas on October 8, 2010 at 2:10 PM

Both IBD and The Hill have pieces reporting that if the current number of jobs are created every month as we have at present, it will be approximately 2020 before people are back to work.

Actually we need approximately 150k new jobs a month just to keep up with new people entering the workforce, so 70 to 80k a month will never catch up. With all the people out of work, we realistically need at least 200k jobs a month to start making a dent in unemployment.

Unfortunately, the job market is headed in the wrong direction.

Did I hear Obama out there today telling us the situation is great?

FTA:

“BLADENSBURG, Md. – President Barack Obama is conceding that tough days carry on for millions of unemployed people, but he is heralding another month of modest job growth in the private sector.

A new government report shows private employers added 64,000 positions, the weakest showing since June. Obama struck an upbeat tone, though, saying the private sector has added jobs for nine straight months after a crippling recession.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20101008/ap_on_re_us/us_obama_economy_1

That’s his story and he’s sticking to it.

dogsoldier on October 8, 2010 at 2:28 PM

Psssssttt..I am wondering how long it will take the morons in this administration to realize that Reagan’s lousy numbers were saved by a resurgent economy and programs Americans actually believed it? When I hear the comparison in the media I want to shout:
Just wearing a bicorne does not make you Bonaparte!

My sidekick just told me that the gang in the WH will not know what I am talking about. Just as well…

IlikedAUH2O on October 8, 2010 at 2:43 PM

How did they “suppress” the 10.1% unemployement forecast that was being “touted” yesterday?????

bucko36 on October 8, 2010 at 4:45 PM

bucko36 on October 8, 2010 at 4:45 PM

The sort answer is they move people into a category that doesn’t affect the U3 number. Check out the U6 number and shadowstats for more accurate data.

dogsoldier on October 8, 2010 at 4:51 PM

How did they “suppress” the 10.1% unemployement forecast that was being “touted” yesterday?????

bucko36 on October 8, 2010 at 4:45 PM

The BLS number just goes to the middle of September, the yesterday Gallup number was for the whole month.

txmomof6 on October 8, 2010 at 6:52 PM

Unexpectedly, it’s not funny any more.

Honestly.

hillbillyjim on October 8, 2010 at 9:42 PM

Reuters has unexpectedly removed the U-word from its lead paragraph

They finally got around to reading Obama’s economic policies? Unexpected!

TN Mom on October 9, 2010 at 12:49 AM

Except they counted a lot of workers five or ten times. Drudge has it up in red at the moment – 14 months. The U6 has been over ten for a very long time.

dogsoldier on October 8, 2010 at 1:17 PM

Except though, the govt counting Census workers multiple times only affects NFP not U3/6. Even if the worker themself told the household surveyor that they had 3 jobs at the Census iirc, it only counts as one job. One of the major differences between NFP and U3/6 (again iirc) is that if you work at say McDonalds and WalMart, NFP will count 2 jobs whild U3/6 will count you as simply employed (in whatever category). Another major difference is if you work for yourself NFP won’t pick up your job but U3/6 will.

How did they “suppress” the 10.1% unemployement forecast that was being “touted” yesterday?????

bucko36 on October 8, 2010 at 4:45 PM
The BLS number just goes to the middle of September, the yesterday Gallup number was for the whole month.

txmomof6 on October 8, 2010 at 6:52 PM

No, no, a thousand times no. The Gallup survey is not only 30% the size of the household survey but not seasonally adjusted. I’m not sure why Gallup mentions mid-month job losses. NFP is usually up to mid-month for the first report but the household survey should be up to, or near, the end of the month like Gallup’s survey.

You cannot compare seasonally adjusted and non-seasonally adjusted stats. Yes according to Gallup job losses accelerated in late September, any guess why that may be? Last of the summer holiday help being let go perhaps? I don’t know exactly, but it can be entirely seasonal which the Gallup survey is too new to know. Though look at it for yourself. Unemployment plunges in May, hits a nadir in mid-summer, and then increases sharply in September. Seems like something “seasonal” might be at play.

jarodea on October 9, 2010 at 8:20 AM

I’m not sure why Gallup mentions mid-month job losses. NFP is usually up to mid-month for the first report but the household survey should be up to, or near, the end of the month like Gallup’s survey.

jarodea on October 9, 2010 at 8:20 AM

Well had I bothered to find the entire methodology before writing that I would have known, both essentially use the week of the 12th of the month as reference week. Seems odd for a survey though.

Although pretty interesting to me, the 90% CI range of the first NFP is +/- 100k. So the 90% CI for NFP this month is (-195k, 5k). For U3 its +/-0.2% or (9.4%, 9.8%).

jarodea on October 9, 2010 at 8:32 AM

Anyone with rudimentary math skills would know that, if you have a NET LOSS of jobs, the unemployment number would naturally rise. The key word here is “net”.

This whole Bureau of Labor Stats report is a pre-election lie, to try to keep unemployment numbers below the threshold of 10%, which would bleed off any Democrat and administration support left.

Lies…all lies. Just like “saved or created”.

realitycheck on October 10, 2010 at 9:10 PM

jarodea on October 9, 2010 at 8:20 AM

Unfortunately the census numbers did affect the U3 and the U6. They dropped all the new census workers off the rolls.
The “Saved or Created” count also received a generous, but meaningless bump.

Subsequently, when the census work ended all those part timers signed up for benefits again.

This is something I track extremely closely.

dogsoldier on October 11, 2010 at 9:15 AM

What do you call the BLS report on September employment, which reported the loss of 159,000 government jobs?

A “good start”.

Doesn’t anybody see this as great news? (Granted the private sector is sick, but let’s not lose sight of the good news.)

Over50 on October 11, 2010 at 9:20 AM

Unfortunately the census numbers did affect the U3 and the U6. They dropped all the new census workers off the rolls.
The “Saved or Created” count also received a generous, but meaningless bump.

Subsequently, when the census work ended all those part timers signed up for benefits again.

This is something I track extremely closely.

dogsoldier on October 11, 2010 at 9:15 AM

U3/6 are from a seperate survey and not affected by it.

jarodea on October 11, 2010 at 10:10 AM

Keep repeating this. The workforce grows by 120,000 people every month. That means the job growth is flat if the average job growth is 120,000.

seven on October 11, 2010 at 10:24 AM

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