Where The September Jobs Were: Waiter And Bartender Devastation

The September jobs report was a bizarre exercise in "goalseeked" data: from the first drop in Establishment Survey payrolls in 7 years, to the near record monthly surge in full-time jobs and Household Survey employment, to the erroneous calculation in average hourly earnings, virtually everything about the latest payrolls report was off.

Still, accurate or fabricated, here is the breakdown of the seasonally-adjusted job gains and losses that took place in the hurricane-impacted month.

As SouthBay Research points out, the biggest sign of Hurricane drag was found in Leisure and Hospitality which plunged by -111K, a drop due to a loss of 105K waiter and bartender jobs: the one category that for the past 7 years was the "plough hourse" of the so-called US recovery; this was the worst monthly drop in history for this category.

And while we find it delightfully ironic that in the one month in which waiters/bartenders lost the most jobs on record is when average wages (allegedly) soared, the September drop will be revised in the coming days and should move higher next month. After all, many people fleeing Florida and Houston had to stay in hotels and motels, for example.  And certainly eat out more.

Some other September jobs highlights:

  • Goods Production +9K (as expected): Not Hurricane impacted.  The reflation trade has ended and factories are now coasting.
  • Trade, Transportation: +26K (as expected): Slightly hurricane impacted.  Building supplies up (+5K), for example.  Also trucking up +9K as suppliers raced to ensure shipments were not impacted.
  • Professional Services: +12K (Slightly below expectations): Softer consulting and management payrolls brought the figure down
  • Education: +14K (as expected)
  • Healthcare: +13K (much lower than expected)  Social Assistance (emergency care, childcare, etc) was 30K below my data.  Given the level of emergency support, this is unusual...
  • Government: +7K. No hurricane impact and in line with expectations.
  • Information: -9K. A surprising drop in what has traditionally been one of the best paying job sectors.
  • Leisure/Hospitality: -111K (much lower than expected)  Very hurricane impacted.  This will likely be revised up

Below is a breakdown of the monthly changes across the main job categories in September:

And from Bloomberg, here are the industries with the highest and lowest rates of employment growth for the most recent month. Additionally, monthly growth rates are shown for the prior year. The latest month’s figures are highlighted. Wage data are shown when available