Return of striking workers accounts for nearly half of added jobs.
The U.S economy added 103,000 jobs in September, the Labor Department announced today. While this is welcome news after August’s “zero growth” report, the unemployment rate held at 9.1 percent for the third straight month, and job gains in the private sector were offset by losses in the public sector.
While the gain in jobs was greater than analysts’ forecasts, nearly half were due to the rehiring of 45,000 Verizon workers who had been on strike.
The private sector added 137,000 jobs in September, but government lost 35,000 jobs and has fallen by 535,000 since September 2008. President Obama earlier this week called losses in the public sector “the biggest problem we’ve had in terms of unemployment. We keep on seeing these lay-offs having an adverse effect on economies in states all across the country.”
Just over six million people have been jobless for 27 weeks and more, comprising almost 45 percent of the unemployed. The number of so-called “involuntary part-time workers,” people employed part-time because their hours had been scaled back or they were unable to find a full-time position, rose to 9.3 million in September.
The biggest job gains were in professional and business services, which increased by 48,000 over the month and has grown by 897,000 since a recent low in September 2009, the Labor Department noted. Health care employment increased by 44,000 positions, while temporary help services positions has added 53,000 jobs over the past three months.
Employers, on average, have added 72,000 jobs per month since April, a rate that economists say is insufficient just to keep up with population growth. The Labor Department also revised previous estimates for July (from 85,000 jobs gained to 127,000) and August (from 0 to 57,000).
The number of people who wanted and were available for work, and had looked for a job sometime in the prior year, was at 2.5 million, about the same as last year. These people are not counted as unemployed because they had not searched for work in the four weeks preceding the Labor Department survey because of school attendance, family responsibilities or other reasons. Of these workers deemed “marginally attached to the workforce,” one million are classified as “discouraged,” meaning that they are not currently looking for work because they believe no jobs are available for them.
Nearly 55 percent of investors surveyed last month by Millionaire Corner said they were very well acquainted with people who are looking but are unable to find work. Only about 22 percent said they believe President Obama’s $450 billion jobs plan will succeed. Obama, speaking yesterday, once again urged Congress to pass his initiative. Republicans oppose the proposal for a new tax on millionaires to help pay for it.