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Job growth slows in September, but still too good for Wall Street

By Masao Suzuki

San José, CA – On Friday, October 7 the U.S. Department of Labor released their report on new jobs and the unemployment rate in September. According to the Department of Labor, there were 263,000 more jobs in September than in August. This is the weakest job report since December of 2020.

The biggest drop in new jobs was in the government, which went from adding 40,000 jobs in August to a job loss of 25,000. Most of this job loss came from cuts at local schools, which had over 20,000 fewer workers than the month before. Another sign of job market weakness could be seen among retailers, which went from a gain of more than 40,000 jobs in August to a small loss in September. Last, there was a large increase in temporary jobs, often a sign that businesses are getting worried about a coming recession and don’t want to make permanent hires.

The unemployment rate for September did drop to 3.5% from 3.7% in August. But part of this drop in the number of unemployed was because more than 50,000 jobless stopped looking for work and thus were not counted. The number of jobless workers who wanted to work, but did not look for work, in September also grew. These workers do not show up in the official unemployment numbers.

Despite the relative weakness of the report, Wall Street was hoping for an even worse report with fewer jobs and a rising unemployment rate. Investors sold stocks, with the broad based S&P 500 index falling more than 100 points, or about 2.8%.

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