Job Market Update: September 2017

What's the latest with the unemployment rate? We've got the details and the takeaways.

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Jobs Added

-33,000

  • Food Services & Drinking Places

    -105,000

  • Construction

    8,000

  • Manufacturing

    -1,000

  • Mining

    2,000

  • Education & Health Services

    27,000

  • Transportation & Warehousing

    21,800

  • Finance

    10,000

  • Leisure and Hospitality

    -111,000

5 Things to know about September’s job report

The unemployment rate declined to 4.2% in September, down from 4.4% in August. However, payrolls fell by an estimated 33,000. According to CNBC, this is the first time the job growth number has been negative since September 2010.

Though experts were hesitant to say whether or not the effects of Hurricane Harvey and Irma would impact the national economy during the month of September, they now believe the sharp employment decline in some industries – such as food services and drinking places –likely reflect the impact of the storms.

Another strong topic of conversation surrounding the unemployment rate this year has been wage growth. Despite the health of the US economy in 2017, wage increases have remained relatively flat. In September, however, wages grew to an annualized rate of 2.9 percent, up from August’s 2.5% year-over-year rate, signaling employers may be realizing that in order to find the talent they need, they have to offer pay rates that are more attractive. Scroll down to our “Why This is So Important” section below to read more on our thoughts on wage increases.

Here are 5 Other Things you need to know about September’s job report:

  1. According to The New York Times, if you use Hurricane Katrina as a benchmark for how long it will take the economy to recover from the storms, you can expect payroll additions to come back up in approximately 2 months. By the end of this year, we should see job numbers back up to their 2017 average.
  2. Puerto Rico, though a US a territory, is not included in the national unemployment rate or job growth numbers. CNN Money predicts the destruction Hurricane Maria did to the island will result in anywhere from $20 - $85 billion in damages. Here’s how you can help.
  3. Food services and drinking places dropped dramatically in September, down 105,000 jobs, which the Bureau of Labor Statistics believes is due to workers being off payroll during the hurricanes. On the contrary, financial activities grew by 10,000 jobs in September, mostly in the field of insurance, which is likely also due to the impact of the storms.
  4. The industry that seemed to fair best in September was education and health services – jobs like health care, ambulatory services and home health services – adding 27,000 jobs to the economy.
  5. Transportation and warehousing also added 22,000 jobs in September, likely due to companies preparing for the upcoming holidays. If you’re looking for work, seasonal jobs come with several benefits worth considering. Learn more here. 

Unemployment Rate

  • Unemployment Rate

    4.2%

  • Change from Last Month

    -.2%

In Your Region

August 2017

The Bureau of Labor Statistics breaks down the unemployment rate geographically one month behind it’s national breakdown, so this month we’re reviewing August’s regional performance.

Though Hurricane Harvey made landfall in August, the survey data was collected before the storm, so this month’s results will show no effects of the storm as far as we can tell. The Midwest had the lowest unemployment rate at 3.7%, while the South had the highest at 4.5%.

West

West

  • Unemployment Rate

    4.3%

  • Change from Last Month

    Flat

Lowest and highest unemployment rates

Colorado (2.4%) / Alaska (7.2%)

Midwest

Midwest

  • Unemployment Rate

    3.7%

  • Change from Last Month

    +.2%

Lowest and highest unemployment rates

North Dakota (2.3%) / Ohio (5.4%)

Northeast

Northeast

  • Unemployment Rate

    4.2%

  • Change from Last Month

    Flat

Lowest and highest unemployment rates

New Hampshire (2.7%) / Pennsylvania (4.9%)

West

South

  • Unemployment Rate

    4.5%

  • Change from Last Month

    Flat

Lowest and highest unemployment rates

Tennessee (3.3%) / District of Columbia (6.4%)

Why This is So Important

Though it’s taken nearly all of 2017 for wage increases to spike significantly, September’s .4% pay rate increase signals that wage increases – or other employee incentives – will likely continue into 2018. Our Senior Vice President, Amy Glaser, spoke to the New York Times about what else employers are doing to gear up for the holiday season.

Things like tapping into less common employee pools (retirees, stay-at-home moms, etc.) and educating their workforces with things like internships and apprenticeships may also become more common.

“There is a need for speed,” Ms. Glaser said. “Whoever gets to a candidate first is well positioned.”

If you’re a company worried about the impact the low unemployment rate may have on your ability to find the talent you need – especially as we head into the holiday season – we’ve got the network of people you’re looking for. Contact us today to learn how we can help.