Unemployment rate steady at 9.1%, 103K jobs added; Update: U-6 increases to 16.5%

posted at 8:45 am on October 7, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

Mildly good news for the administration from the Department of Labor this morning:

Nonfarm payroll employment edged up by 103,000 in September, and the unemployment rate held at 9.1 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. The increase in employment partially reflected the return to payrolls of about 45,000 telecommunications workers who had been on strike in August. In September, job gains occurred in professional and business services, health care, and construction. Government employment continued to trend down.

So we’re counting as gains jobs that were never lost in the first place? It’s not that it’s unfair, since those counted as jobs lost in the August survey, but it’s not exactly a job-growth indicator, either. Without the return of striking workers who weren’t losing their jobs in the first place, we have a jobs report that essentially met analyst expectations at 58,000 (Bloomberg and Reuters expected 60K growth).

Either way, this isn’t a blockbuster jobs report.  Even at 103K, that’s barely keeping up with population growth at best (estimates range from 100K-125K needed).

Year on year, the number of those marginally attached to the workforce has barely budged.  In September 2010, 5.949 million people wanted a job, and this year the number is 5.929 million.  Discouraged workers did drop from 1.209 million to 1.037 million, but the “other” category increased from 1.340 million to 1.474 million.  Both the average and mean duration of unemployment increased in September (0.2 and 0.4 weeks, respectively).

Reuters didn’t exactly break out the ribbons and champagne over the new numbers:

Employment grew more than expected in September and job gains for the prior months were revised higher, according to a government report on Friday that could ease fears the economy was heading into recession.

Nonfarm payrolls rose 103,000 the Labor Department said on Friday, while the unemployment rate held steady at 9.1 percent as an increase in household employment offset a rise in the participation rate. …

Private employment increased 137,000 last month, an acceleration from August’s meager 42,000 count. But government payrolls fell 34,000 as employment at the local government level fell 35,000 and the Postal Service shed 5,000 positions.

The report certainly beats August’s net gain of zero, but it’s not a sign of impending growth, either.

Update: Steve Eggleston points out that the U-6 measure of unemployment and underemployment rose 0.3 points to 16.5%.   That’s the highest it has been in months, and has increased since May from 15.8%.

Also, Suitably Flip graphs the actual jobs growth over the last three months after accounting for the Verizon strike, and it’s not pretty.

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So we’re counting as gains jobs that were never lost in the first place? It’s not that it’s unfair, since those counted as jobs lost in the August survey, but it’s not exactly a job-growth indicator, either. Without the return of striking workers who weren’t losing their jobs in the first place, we have a jobs report that essentially met analyst expectations at 58,000 (Bloomberg and Reuters expected 60K growth).

So really when you break it down, August saw a gain of 45,000 jobs and September’s total was 58,000. Are these the kinds of figures we can expect over the next 13 months? If so, Barry better start packing.

Doughboy on October 7, 2011 at 8:49 AM

Let the spin begin

————-

We’ll probably see a revision of these numbers.as well

cmsinaz on October 7, 2011 at 8:50 AM

If the GOP would only get out of the way and pass the Jobs Bill NOW, unemployment would be at 6% by Recovery Summer III.

mankai on October 7, 2011 at 8:50 AM

Socialism at work!

MaiDee on October 7, 2011 at 8:50 AM

Happy days are here again!

sandee on October 7, 2011 at 8:51 AM

flaccid.

ted c on October 7, 2011 at 8:51 AM

Is my prediction that Obama and the media will ensure by hook or crook that Spring/Summer 2012 is the “Spring/Summer of Recovery” looking good?

I hate to say “I told you so”.

Beating Obama in 2012 is not going to be easy considering how even conservatives allow a media beat-up of otherwise good candidates (Perry and Palin) cloud their thinking.

Prepare for a mediagasm of historic proportions as slight improvement in the economy next year will be used to launch an “Obama the Comeback Kid” meme.

The solution? Elect someone who can be contrasted in ideology and principle from Obama as the GOP nominee. And it sure as heck is not Romney.

TheRightMan on October 7, 2011 at 8:53 AM

Not to worry. Read where the railroad unions are wanting to strike.

marinetbryant on October 7, 2011 at 8:54 AM

It’s bull anyway. 9.1%, what a lying crock that is, the only way to get to that number is to remove millions of people for various reasons such as those who have given up looking for work.

Try Encino or Vallejo, California, their unemployment rate is near 40%.

Bishop on October 7, 2011 at 8:55 AM

Obama’s 9.1%. Not to be confused with his 99%.

JammieWearingFool on October 7, 2011 at 8:57 AM

That’s what gets him those solid B+’s.

RBMN on October 7, 2011 at 8:59 AM

Has the underlying definition of “unemployed” changed at all, during the course of the Obama presidency? Or, are seasonal adjustments done differently? I ask because the unemployment rate reacts in strange ways: no net jobs created in August, very few in September probably, and yet the unemployment rate does not react.

MTF on October 7, 2011 at 9:00 AM

Numbers to be adjusted within days…don’t believe a word these goons put out.

At least in the USSR they never claimed to tell the truth.

Schadenfreude on October 7, 2011 at 9:00 AM

I expected this “improvement” because all week they were floating the 60,000 jobs number. I’m sure Obama will be out there today touting this glorious number,,,

sandee on October 7, 2011 at 9:00 AM

Bad news for the Marx-Socialist side of Obama…..

…….GOOD NEWS for the Obama 2012 campaign.

quite a quandry for the WHouse.

PappyD61 on October 7, 2011 at 9:00 AM

Obama’s pro-union stance turns out to be brilliant. Strikes create jobs.

Mark1971 on October 7, 2011 at 9:00 AM

We’ll probably see a revision of these numbers.as well

cmsinaz on October 7, 2011 at 8:50 AM

Sorry, posted, then read yer comment. Good on you!

Schadenfreude on October 7, 2011 at 9:02 AM

Wait did I read that wrong? Is the Unemployment rate 91% of 9.1%?

Oh nevermind I see now, that 91% rate is among minorities in the urban areas. Sorry my bad. I forgot Obama is working tirelessly for the Maxine Waters demographic. Good luck Maxine, keep splainin.

PappyD61 on October 7, 2011 at 9:02 AM

Wow, 103,000!!!! That’s not even enough to fill Michigan Stadium with a capacity of 109,900. Debbie W.S. was right we have turned a corner./

vcferlita on October 7, 2011 at 9:06 AM

B.O. said unemployment wouldn’t go above 8.8% if the “stimulis” was passed, so $787 billion dollars later IT HAS NOT WORKED. I sent you tea party members to STOP the spending and your doing a pretty good job!
33792

mmcnamer1 on October 7, 2011 at 9:07 AM

TheRightMan on October 7, 2011 at 8:53 AM

All this, plus the staged upheavel from the scum…but keep in mind that NO one listens to him any more. Hopefully the people have figured the charlatan out. If not, they deserve him. Our side will be culpable if the ‘civil’ war continues. Just look at HA. Obama can’t win because a candleholder should beat this Nobody. However, the right may hand him re-election on a platinum platter because they’re not going to recruit Jesus to run. If they could, he wouldn’t be pure enough. No, I’m not a RINO.

Schadenfreude on October 7, 2011 at 9:08 AM

BO has the perfect initials. Don’t believe a word he says and keep him away from any power over you. If given one more term he’ll destroy you, fully.

Schadenfreude on October 7, 2011 at 9:10 AM

Breaking down the unemployment numbers (off Table A-15, the Alternative Measures of Labor Underutilization):

- Those unemployed at least 15 weeks (U-1 on the chart) – 5.4% (of the “official” labor force), unchanged from August
- Discouraged workers (those who want/are available for a job, but aren’t looking right now for job-market-related reasons; U-4 – U-3, the “official” unemployment rate) – 0.6% (of the “official” labor force plus the discouraged workers), unchanged from August
- Marginally-attached to the work force (those who want/are available for a job but aren’t looking right now for whatever reason; U-5 – U-3) – 1.4% (of the “official” labor force plus all those marginally-attached to it), down from 1.5% in August
- Those who want full-time work but are forced to part-time work because the job market sucks (U-6 – U-5) – 6.0% (of the “official” labor force plus all those marginally-attached to it), up from 5.6% in August

Steve Eggleston on October 7, 2011 at 9:11 AM

I am starting to hate 0bama again…
Not good

OmahaConservative on October 7, 2011 at 9:12 AM

The report certainly beats August’s net gain of zero, but it’s not a sign of impending growth, either.

There’s a bit of “good” news there as well – August’s numbers were revised upward by 99K (and July’s were upwardly-revised by 42K).

Of course, that didn’t exactly keep up with the growth in the civilian non-institutional population.

Steve Eggleston on October 7, 2011 at 9:16 AM

CNN headline “Hiring gains momentum.” Sure…

sandee on October 7, 2011 at 9:16 AM

Teehee. I predicted this yesterday. Just wait until NEXT October… 5.1% just because!

SouthernGent on October 7, 2011 at 9:27 AM

Yahoo headline”Payrolls rise in September unemployment remains steady.” Then the article goes on to say this allays fears that we might be heading into another recession.Did we ever get out of it?

sandee on October 7, 2011 at 9:36 AM

Reading off the wrong line of the charts (where’s the damn coffee?):

August’s seasonally-adjusted upward revision was +57K, not +99K. Sorry.

Steve Eggleston on October 7, 2011 at 9:36 AM

I picked 9.2 yesterday…

close enough

golfmann on October 7, 2011 at 9:41 AM

Doesn’t matter, obama is awesome
-lsm

cmsinaz on October 7, 2011 at 9:46 AM

hey OC
Good to see you

cmsinaz on October 7, 2011 at 9:48 AM

….and Obama demands that we agree to more of the same failed policies of massive spending combined with massive tax hikes that produce nothing but more failure and economic stagnation.


Obama is AWESOME!!!!

Baxter Greene on October 7, 2011 at 9:55 AM

People not part of the new jobs number have no comment.

BobMbx on October 7, 2011 at 10:03 AM

….and Obama demands that we agree to more of the same failed policies of massive spending combined with massive tax hikes that produce nothing but more failure and economic stagnation.

Obama is AWESOME!!!!

Baxter Greene on October 7, 2011 at 9:55 AM

New policy:

Anyone not employed on Dec 31 2012 will be shot.

Big, bold, effective. Unemployment drops to 0%.

BobMbx on October 7, 2011 at 10:04 AM

I wonder if Jay Carney springs out of bed every morning with a spring in his step and a twinkle in his eye, eager for the day to begin.

a capella on October 7, 2011 at 10:08 AM

103K job increase is actually not an increase but a decrease of actual jobs.
103,000
-45,000 Verizon jobs
____________________
58,000 jobs left
-# of teachers going back to work and no longer drawing unemployment(this is allowed in a lot of states during summer months)
____________________
A negative number of new jobs created.

ConservativePartyNow on October 7, 2011 at 10:12 AM

ConservativePartyNow on October 7, 2011 at 10:12 AM

The effects of eachers going back to work, as well as those losing their jobs at the end of tourist season, are part of the seasonal adjustment.

Steve Eggleston on October 7, 2011 at 10:24 AM

I wonder if Jay Carney springs out of bed every morning with a spring in his step and a twinkle in his eye, eager for the day to begin.

a capella on October 7, 2011 at 10:08 AM

I get it…but I bet he actually does.
Cultists firmly believe in what they are doing…

right2bright on October 7, 2011 at 10:58 AM

U-6 = 16.5%?

But…but…but Nancy Pelosi said that “The Stimulus” worked. Otherwise unemployment would have risen to just over 14%!

GarandFan on October 7, 2011 at 11:06 AM

Unemployment rate steady at 9.1%

… and August revised to reflect improvement…

Okay, everyone who actually believes any of this please raise your hands…

Midas on October 7, 2011 at 11:08 AM

“Some time in the next couple of months we’re going to be creating between 250,000 jobs a month and 500,000 jobs a month,” Biden said at a fundraiser today in Pittsburgh.

April 23, 2010

Mr_Magoo on October 7, 2011 at 11:09 AM

I am starting to hate 0bama again…
Not good

OmahaConservative on October 7, 2011 at 9:12 AM

What, pray tell, ever caused you to stop?

Midas on October 7, 2011 at 11:11 AM

I am starting to hate 0bama again…
Not good

OmahaConservative on October 7, 2011 at 9:12 AM

..like the other guy asked, “Why did you stop?” And I’ll add, “Where the Hell you been, O.C.?”

Good to have you back.

The War Planner on October 7, 2011 at 11:43 AM

Did they count the striking workers(oxymoron) as unemployed when they first walked out? If so, then they could count them as newly employed this time. Otherwise, not so much. Of course, there is always the libs lied when jobs died.

Kissmygrits on October 7, 2011 at 11:49 AM

Has the underlying definition of “unemployed” changed at all, during the course of the Obama presidency? Or, are seasonal adjustments done differently? I ask because the unemployment rate reacts in strange ways: no net jobs created in August, very few in September probably, and yet the unemployment rate does not react.

MTF on October 7, 2011 at 9:00 AM

For starters, they don’t count people who are no longer looking for work. I believe people who are no longer collecting unemployment benefits are also not included in the number.

hawksruleva on October 7, 2011 at 11:59 AM

45K people come back from a strike and that’s 45K new jobs? OK. Then today I will quit my job, and on Monday I will go back to work. By this method, I just created a new job on Monday.

angryed on October 7, 2011 at 12:09 PM

Did they count the striking workers(oxymoron) as unemployed when they first walked out? If so, then they could count them as newly employed this time. Otherwise, not so much. Of course, there is always the libs lied when jobs died.

Kissmygrits on October 7, 2011 at 11:49 AM

Yes they did.

Steve Eggleston on October 7, 2011 at 12:25 PM

For starters, they don’t count people who are no longer looking for work. I believe people who are no longer collecting unemployment benefits are also not included in the number.

hawksruleva on October 7, 2011 at 11:59 AM

You are correct, hawk, and they arbitratily reduced the size of the US labor force despite the fact that the labor force is actually growing every month by 150,000.

If you all want a jaw dropping look at reality, look at shadowstats.com and find the Youngstown State University study on defaco unemployment, where they y’know actually counted the unemployed.

Youngstown shows an unemployment rate of 29% folks. Shadowstats shows it at 25%

In both cases this is higher than depression era levels due to differences in the way we count unemployment. Back then anyone over the age of 14 who could work was counted. Today we don’t allow that (for the most part)

dogsoldier on October 7, 2011 at 12:49 PM

45K people come back from a strike and that’s 45K new jobs? OK. Then today I will quit my job, and on Monday I will go back to work. By this method, I just created a new job on Monday.

angryed on October 7, 2011 at 12:09 PM

This is how they “saved or created” all the census worker jobs, counting some people as many as six times.

dogsoldier on October 7, 2011 at 12:51 PM