The U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics on Friday released the September jobs report, reporting that the U.S. economy added 336,000 jobs—a number that nearly doubled expectations.
It far exceeds August’s reported 187,000 jobs added, though the BLS revised the previous two months’ total jobs numbers by a total of 119,000 jobs.
The unemployment rate held steady at 3.8 percent.
Hiring accelerated the most in:
- Leisure and hospitality (+96,000 jobs, and the BLS said, “Employment in food services and drinking places … has returned to its pre-pandemic February 2020 level.”)
- Government services (+73,000)
- Healthcare services (+41,000)
A growth of the job market is one of the metrics the Federal Reserve looks at when considering interest rate increases while fighting inflation. A slower growing job market could be a sign that previous interest rate hikes are doing their job, which could help tame inflation. September’s reported number, though, does not show a slowing of job growth. It does, however, show that wage growth is moderating, which is a positive indicator toward slowing inflation.
The Fed elected in September not to raise interest rates this month, though they’re expected to raise rates once more this year.
Other jobs and economic data from the previous month include:
- Wage growth rose just 0.2 percent (seven cents), which is a slower rate than previous months.
- The private sector reportedly only added 89,000 jobs last month—over 60,000 less jobs than predicted. It’s the slowest private-sector job growth since January 2021. Wages in the private sector have also decreased for the better part of 12 months.
- Entering the holiday season, private payrolls are expected to increase as companies hire temporary workers to meet demand.
- Job openings increased by 600,000 in August, according to the JOLTS report from the BLS, which tracks with the large growth in jobs in September. This came after multiple months of contracting job openings. Most of these job openings came in professional and business services.
- Jobless claims held relatively steady at 207,000 claims in the week of October 2.
- The voluntary separation rate remained steady at 3.6 percent—a continued trend of separations normalizing and matching pre-pandemic averages.
- A report from Staffing Industry Analysts found that just 10 percent of temporary workers worked remotely—which is in line with Insight Global data that most of new job openings are for non-remote roles.
What Do Businesses and Job Seekers Do?
In a job market like this one—highlighted by an unclear outlook— it’s an important time for job seekers and businesses to focus on building skills and retention.
Last month, we detailed three tips for job seekers and businesses to keep in mind while if the economy slows or doesn’t:
- Focus on upskilling
- Find ways to stand out from your competitors—whether they’re other job candidates or business competitors
- Work on solidifying what your best work environment looks like
In addition to this, consider these in-demand skills—and industries—to work on (as an employee) or to invest in developing (as a company).