US Bureau of Labor Statistics

The overall unemployment rate rose by two tenths of a percent in September , to 4.2 percent, as reported by the US Department of Labor. It was 4.9 percent a year ago in September 2016.

The civilian labor force participation rate remained rose two tenths of a percent in September, to 63.1 percent. This is the highest participation rate in four years and it appears to be trending slightly upward since its low point in September of 2015.

The employment-population ratio rose by three tenths of a percent to 60.4 percent in September. The employment-population ratio has been steadily increasing since July 2011 and is at its highest point since January 2009.*

Total nonfarm payroll employment fell by 33,000 in September. The payroll employment numbers for both July and August of 2017 were adjusted. Employment gains for those months are now 38,000 fewer than previously reported.

The unemployment rate for individuals with at least a bachelor’s degree fell by one tenth of a percent to 2.3 percent in September. The rate for individuals with at least a bachelor’s degree has not significantly changed since March 2015.

*It should be noted that as of January 2016, updated population estimates are being utilized when calculating employment data. BLS did not modify previous months utilizing the new estimates, so if comparing data from 2016 to earlier months, understand that there will be slight differences in the way the data was derived.

Some details directly from the BLS report:


Total nonfarm payroll employment was little changed in September (-33,000), after adding an average of 172,000 jobs per month over the prior 12 months. In September, a steep employment decline in food services and drinking places and below-trend growth in some other industries likely reflected the impact of Hurricanes Irma and Harvey. Employment rose in health care and in transportation and warehousing.

Employment in food services and drinking places dropped sharply in September (-105,000), as many workers were off payrolls due to the recent hurricanes. Over the prior 12 months, food services and drinking places had added an average of 24,000 jobs per month.

In September, health care added 23,000 jobs, in line with its average monthly gain over the prior 12 months (+27,000). The employment increase in ambulatory health care services (+25,000) was partially offset by a decline in nursing care facilities (-9,000).

Employment in transportation and warehousing increased by 22,000 in September. Job gains occurred in warehousing and storage (+5,000), couriers and messengers (+4,000), and air transportation (+3,000).

Employment in financial activities changed little in September (+10,000). A job gain in insurance carriers and related activities (+11,000) largely reflected hurricane-recovery efforts. The gain was partly offset by losses in activities related to credit intermediation (-4,000) and in commercial banking (-3,000). Over the year, financial activities has added 149,000 jobs.

In September, employment in professional and business services was little changed (+13,000). Over the prior 12 months, job growth in the industry had averaged 50,000 per month.

Manufacturing employment was essentially unchanged in September (-1,000). From a recent employment trough in November 2016 through August of this year, the industry had added an average of 14,000 jobs per month.

Employment in other major industries, including mining, construction, wholesale trade, retail trade, information, and government, showed little change over the month.

The average workweek for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls was unchanged at 34.4 hours in September. In manufacturing, the workweek also was unchanged at 40.7 hours, and overtime held steady at 3.3 hours. The average workweek for production and nonsupervisory employees on private nonfarm payrolls was unchanged at 33.6 hours.

In September, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose by 12 cents to $26.55. Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings have increased by 74 cents, or 2.9 percent. In September, average hourly earnings of private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees increased by 9 cents to $22.23.