The headline jobs number in the September employment report was slightly above expectations, and employment for the previous two months was revised up by 11,000, combined. The participation rate decreased, pushing down the unemployment rate to 3.5% – equaling the lowest unemployment rate since 1969! And the employment-population ratio was unchanged.
In September, the year-over-year employment change was 5.69 million jobs.
Prime (25 to 54 Years Old) Participation
Since the overall participation rate has declined due to cyclical (recession) and demographic (aging population, younger people staying in school) reasons, here is the employment-population ratio for the key working age group: 25 to 54 years old.
The 25 to 54 participation rate decreased in September to 82.7% from 82.8% in August, and the 25 to 54 employment population ratio decreased to 80.2% from 80.3% the previous month.
Part Time for Economic Reasons
From the BLS report:
“The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons decreased by 306,000 to 3.8 million in September. These individuals, who would have preferred full-time employment, were working part time because their hours had been reduced or they were unable to find full-time jobs.”The number of persons working part time for economic reasons decreased in September to 3.843 million from 4.149 million in August. This is below pre-recession levels.
These workers are included in the alternate measure of labor underutilization (U-6) that decreased to 6.7% from 7.0% in the previous month. This is down from the record high in April 22.9%, and matches the lowest level on record for this measure since 1994. This measure is below the level in February 2020 (pre-pandemic).
Unemployed over 26 Weeks
According to the BLS, there are 1.067 million workers who have been unemployed for more than 26 weeks and still want a job, down from 1.137 million the previous month.
This is back to pre-pandemic levels.
The headline monthly jobs number was slightly above expectations and employment for the previous two months was revised up by 11,000, combined.