Payrolls Rise 156K, Missing Expectations, Unemployment Rate Rises To 5.0%

With Wall Street all bulled up on the economy, expecting a print of 175K while the whipser number was decidedly higher, and closer to 200K thanks to Goldman's optimism, moments ago the BLS reported that in September the US created only 156K jobs, missing expectations, and down from the upward revised 167K in August, leaving the question of whether the Fed will hike imminently, unanswered.

 

However, offsetting the September miss, last month's disappointing print of 151K was revised to 167K. At the same time, the change in total nonfarm payroll employment for July was revised down from +275,000 to +252,000. With these revisions, employment  gains in July and August combined were 7,000 less than previously reported. Over the past 3 months, job gains have averaged 192,000 per month.

The household survey employment number of 151.968MM was 354K bigger than last month, and pushed the annual increase higher by 2.0%, the biggest since March 2016.

The unemployment rate, at 5.0%, and the number of unemployed persons, at 7.9 million, changed  little in September, up 0.1% from August and the highest in 6 months. Both measures have shown little movement, on net, since August of last year.

The participation rate rose by 0.1% t 62.9% as people not in the labor force declined by 207K.

However, while the headline print may have been disappointing, which would be good news for the market, what may have prompted the market to reassess a delay in Fed hikes is that average hourly wages rose 0.2% sequentially, in line with expectations, and with average weekly hours worked rising also as expected at 34.4, up from 34.3 in August, this means that Average weekly earnings rebounded strongly from 1.5% to 2.3% in September.

More details from the report:

Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 156,000 in September. Thus far this year, job growth has averaged 178,000 per month, compared with an average of 229,000 per month in 2015. In September, employment gains occurred in professional and business services and in health care.

 

Professional and business services employment rose by 67,000 in September and has risen by 582,000 over the year. Over the month, job gains occurred in management and technical consulting services (+16,000), and employment continued to trend up in administrative and support services (+35,000).

 

Health care added 33,000 jobs in September. Ambulatory health care services added 24,000 jobs over  the month, and employment rose by 7,000 in hospitals. Over the past 12 months, health care has added  445,000 jobs.Employment in food services and drinking places continued to trend up in September (+30,000) and has  increased by 300,000 over the year. 

 

Retail trade employment continued to trend up over the month (+22,000). Within the industry, job gains occurred in clothing and clothing accessories stores (+14,000) and in gasoline stations (+8,000). Over the year, employment in retail trade has risen by 317,000.

 

Mining employment was unchanged in September after declining by 220,000 from a peak in September 2014. 

 

Employment in other major industries, including construction, manufacturing, wholesale trade,  transportation and warehousing, information, financial activities, and government, changed  little over the month.

 

The average workweek for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls increased by 0.1 hour to 34.4 hours in September. In manufacturing, the workweek increased by 0.1 hour to 40.7 hours, while overtime was unchanged at 3.3 hours. The average workweek for production and nonsupervisory employees on private nonfarm payrolls was unchanged at 33.5 hours. 

 

In September, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose by 6 cents to $25.79. Over the year, average hourly earnings have risen by 2.6 percent. Average hourly earnings of private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees increased by 5 cents to $21.68 in September. (See tables B-3 and B-8.)

 

The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for July was revised down from +275,000 to +252,000, and the change for August was revised up from +151,000 to +167,000. With these revisions, employment  gains in July and August combined were 7,000 less than previously reported. Over the past 3 months, job gains have averaged 192,000 per month.

One reason why stocks may not be soaring on this weaker report is that as Loretta Mester says, speaking live on CNBC, is that this number is precisely what the Fed was looking for and in line with a labor force tha keeps growing.