Unemployment rate remains unchanged in September

Jobs data presented mixed results today as the economy added 103,000 jobs in September, but unemployment stayed unchanged at 9.1 percent.

Nearly half of the added jobs were the result of the end of a strike as 45,000 telecommunications workers returned to work.

Since April, payroll employment has increased by an average of 72,000 per month, compared with an average of 161,000 for the prior 7 months. In September, job gains occurred in professional and business services, health care, and construction. Government employment continued its downward trend.

The number of unemployed stayed steady at 14 million, keeping the unemployment rate at a stubborn 9.1 percent. The unemployment rate has held steady over the last six months, ranging from 9.0 to 9.2 percent.

That rate does not include an additional 2.5 million unemployed who though they want to work have not looked for a job in the past four weeks.

Several industries gained jobs last month including professional and business services, which added 48,000 new jobs, health care, which added 44,000 jobs and construction, which added 26,000 new jobs in September.

The gains were partially offset by the continuing decline in government employment.  For the month, 34,000 government jobs were lost including 5,000 by the U.S. Postal Service and 35,000 in local government.  In all, local government employment has dropped by 535,000 jobs over the past three years.

There was some good news from the summer months as nonfarm payroll employment for July was revised from +85,000 to +127,000, and the change for August was revised from 0 to +57,000.

Unemployment rate remains unchanged in September