Amid a slowing global economy, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday that the U.S. added a lackluster 142,000 jobs in September, including 5,400 in accounting and bookkeeping services, leaving the unemployment rate unchanged at 5.1 percent.
The job gains mostly occurred in health care and information, while mining employment fell. Employment in professional and business services, which includes accounting and bookkeeping, continued to trend up in September, adding 31,000 jobs. Job growth has averaged 45,000 per month thus far in 2015, compared with an average monthly gain of 59,000 in 2014. In September, job gains occurred in computer systems design and related services, which added 7,000 jobs, and in legal services, which added 5,000 jobs.
In September, average hourly earnings, at $25.09, changed little, down just 1 cent, but that followed a 9-cent gain in August. Hourly earnings have risen 2.2 percent over the course of the year. Average hourly earnings of private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees were unchanged at $21.08 in September.
The BLS also revised downward the change in total nonfarm payroll employment for July from a gain of 245,000 jobs to a gain of 223,000 jobs, and the change for August was similarly revised downward from a gain of 173,000 jobs to a gain of 136,000. With these revisions, employment gains in July and August combined were 59,000 less than previously reported. Over the past three months, job gains have averaged 167,000 per month.
"This just isn’t good enough,” said House Ways and Means chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., in a statement. “Flat wages, weak job growth, and far too many people simply giving up. This recovery continues to disappoint, but we can’t accept it as the new normal. There are solutions: rewriting our broken tax code, expanding American exports through strong trade agreements, and reforming our safety net programs to help people move from welfare to work. The Obama economy has been a failure, and we have to get to work creating opportunity for the future.”
An Obama administration official admitted the economy is showing some signs of a slowdown. “The economy added jobs in September at a pace below that seen earlier in the year, as slowing growth abroad and global financial turmoil have weighed on economic activity,” said Jason Furman, chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, in a blog post on the White House website. “Overall, however, the unemployment rate remains at its lowest level since early 2008 and the private sector has added 13.2 million jobs over 67 straight months of job growth—the longest streak on record. Given the increased uncertainty around the world, it is imperative that the United States not further exacerbate that uncertainty with unnecessary brinksmanship and austerity. Instead, we must take steps to continue the domestic momentum that the U.S. economy has enjoyed in the last several years. That includes passing a budget that reverses the sequester and makes critical investments that help our economy continue to grow, reauthorizing the Ex-Im Bank so that our businesses can compete on a level-playing field abroad, and increasing investments in infrastructure.”
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