"Monthly Payroll Job Change"

September’s employment situation report released on Friday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics painted another disappointing picture of the labor market. Employers eliminated 95,000 nonfarm payroll jobs last month. The government accounted for a net decline of 159,000 while private sector employers added 64,000 net new positions. The unusually large drop in government jobs was due to the elimination of 77,000 temporary positions at the U.S. Census Bureau and local government layoffs totaling 76,000, of which 49,800 were in education. Sectors adding enough jobs last month to be statistically significant included food services and drinking places with 33,900 and ambulatory health care services with 17,200. Telecommunications employers eliminated 5,200 positions, also statistically significant. Year-to-date through September, private employers added 863,000 net new payroll jobs while government eliminated 250,000. The overall monthly average of 68,000 is well below the 200,000 or so jobs needed to begin making a dent in the unemployment rate, which remained stubbornly high last month at 9.6 percent. Office market fundamentals appear to have bottomed out, but the recovery will be very slow until job growth accelerates. The same can be said for the retail market. Apartments, also dependent on job creation, appear to be faring better due to ongoing weakness in the for-sale housing market – stricter mortgage standards, sales that remain near record lows and the steady decline in the rate of homeownership.