United States Unemployment

United States

United States: Payrolls growth picks up and unemployment falls to 5.9%

October 3, 2014

Non-farm payrolls grew by 248,000 in September, which was well above August’s revised increase of 180,000 (previously reported: +142,000). The reading was the highest in three months and overshot market expectations of a 215,000 increase in payrolls.

The private sector was almost entirely responsible for new hiring, having added 236,000 jobs in September. The largest gains were registered in professional and business services, retail, and leisure and hospitality. The public sector added just 12,000 jobs. The U.S. economy has recovered 9.8 million jobs since February 2010, which marked the trough in the labor market crisis. In fact, the economy now has over a million more people employed than at the January 2008 peak.

The unemployment rate—derived from a different survey—fell from 6.1% in August to 5.9% in September, which represented the lowest print since July 2008. Market analysts had expected the unemployment rate to hold at 6.1%. While stronger than expected payroll gains contributed to the drop in unemployment, the result was also driven by a decline in the labor force participation rate. In September, the participation rate was down from 62.8% in August to 62.7%, which marks the lowest level on record.

FocusEconomics Consensus Forecast panelists expect unemployment to average 6.4% this year, which is unchanged from last month’s forecast. For 2015, the panel expects the unemployment rate to drop to 5.8%.

Author:, Economist

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United States Unemployment Chart

USA Unemployment September 2014

Note: Month-on-month variation of non-farm payrolls in thousands and unemployment rate, seasonally adjusted in %.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

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