State of the Labor Market

September 2019 Jobs Report: Slowdown Is Continuing


The US economy added 136,000 jobs last month, and the unemployment rate is at 3.5%, down from 3.7% a month earlier.

The air continues to come out of the labor market, but it has not totally deflated. 

Through September this year, average job growth is at 161,000 per month, down considerably compared to 220,000 last year. After some hopes that hourly wage growth would pick up, it actually declined to under 3% for all workers, on a year-over-year basis. The combination of these two trends suggests the slowdown is due to weaker demand from employers. The loss of momentum does appear to be affecting other parts of the labor market, as rates of long-term unemployment and involuntary part-time work remain stubbornly high.

On the positive side, the share of prime-age workers (ages 25 to 54) with a job increased again in September after a strong gain in August. While the labor market is slowing, the improvements are enough to increasingly get these workers new jobs.

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