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--5 Things We Learned From The September Employment Data
By Kevin Kastner, Shikha Dave, and Harrison Clarke
     WASHINGTON (MNI) - The following are the key points from the 
September employment report released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics 
     - The employment data were mixed. Payrolls growth was much softer 
than expected with a 134,000 gain, but the unemployment rate dipped to 
3.7%. Hourly earnings posted a 0.3% gain after August's downward revised 
0.3% rise, but the year/year rate slipped to 2.8% from 2.9% on base 
effects. BLS said survey reporting was in normal ranges, but they could 
not quantify the exact hurricane effects 
     - The nonfarm payrolls gain was well below the 188,000 gain 
expected. The whisper number was for a 202,000 gain, so a much larger 
surprise to the downside. Likewise, private payrolls rose 121,000, 
compared with a 185,000 gain expected. An MNI analysis showed analysts 
have a tendency to overestimate payrolls in September, including each of 
the last three years, so today's data maintains that trend. 
     - The unemployment rate fell sharply even as the participation rate 
was unchanged at 62.7%. The unrounded unemployment rate was 3.683%, on 
the low side of 3.7%. The rates for both men over 20 and women over 20 
fell in the month. Household employment was up 420,000, rebounding from 
a sharp decline in the previous month, while the unemployed level fell 
by 270,000, so the labor force rose by 150,000. The alternate U-6 Rate 
ticked up to 7.5% from 7.4% in August.     
     - Hourly earnings were up 0.3% in the month (+0.295% unrounded), as 
expected after a downward revised 0.3% gain in August. The year/year 
rate slipped to 2.8% due to base effects as September 2017 hourly 
earnings rose 0.5% on hurricane effects, before falling by 0.2% in the 
following month. As a result, the year/year rate for earnings is likely 
to rebound next month. 
     - Payrolls in July and August were revised up by a net 87,000, 
reflecting upward revisions to both months. Private jobs were up 
121,000, much lower than the 182,000 gain expected. Within payrolls, 
there were solid gains for construction (+23k), manufacturing (+18k) and 
professional and business services (+54k), but retail jobs fell by 
     ** MNI Washington Bureau: 202-371-2121 ** 

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