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THE EMPLOYMENT SITUATION -- SEPTEMBER 2015
Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 142,000 in September, and the
unemployment rate was unchanged at 5.1 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor
Statistics reported today. Job gains occurred in health care and information,
while mining employment fell.
Household Survey Data
In September, the unemployment rate held at 5.1 percent, and the number of
unemployed persons (7.9 million) changed little. Over the year, the unemployment
rate and the number of unemployed persons were down by 0.8 percentage point and
1.3 million, respectively. (See table A-1.)
Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult men (4.7 percent),
adult women (4.6 percent), teenagers (16.3 percent), whites (4.4 percent), blacks
(9.2 percent), Asians (3.6 percent), and Hispanics (6.4 percent) showed little
or no change in September. (See tables A-1, A-2, and A-3.)
The number of persons unemployed for less than 5 weeks increased by 268,000 to
2.4 million in September, partially offsetting a decline in August. The number
of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) was little changed
at 2.1 million in September and accounted for 26.6 percent of the unemployed.
(See table A-12.)
The civilian labor force participation rate declined to 62.4 percent in September;
the rate had been 62.6 percent for the prior 3 months. The employment-population
ratio edged down to 59.2 percent in September, after showing little movement for
the first 8 months of the year. (See table A-1.)
The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons (sometimes referred to
as involuntary part-time workers) declined by 447,000 to 6.0 million in September.
These individuals, who would have preferred full-time employment, were working part
time because their hours had been cut back or because they were unable to find a
full-time job. Over the past 12 months, the number of persons employed part time
for economic reasons declined by 1.0 million. (See table A-8.)
In September, 1.9 million persons were marginally attached to the labor force, down
by 305,000 from a year earlier. (The data are not seasonally adjusted.) These
individuals were not in the labor force, wanted and were available for work, and
had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months. They were not counted as
unemployed because they had not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the
survey. (See table A-16.)
Among the marginally attached, there were 635,000 discouraged workers in September,
little changed from a year earlier. (The data are not seasonally adjusted.)
Discouraged workers are persons not currently looking for work because they believe
no jobs are available for them. The remaining 1.3 million persons marginally
attached to the labor force in September had not searched for work for reasons
such as school attendance or family responsibilities. (See table A-16.)
Establishment Survey Data
Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 142,000 in September. Thus far in
2015, job growth has averaged 198,000 per month, compared with an average monthly
gain of 260,000 in 2014. In September, job gains occurred in health care and
information, while employment in mining continued to decline. (See table B-1.)
Health care added 34,000 jobs in September, in line with the average increase of
38,000 jobs per month over the prior 12 months. Hospitals accounted for 16,000 of
the jobs gained in September, and employment in ambulatory health care services
continued to trend up (+13,000).
Employment in information increased by 12,000 in September and has increased by
44,000 over the year.
Employment in professional and business services continued to trend up in September
(+31,000). Job growth has averaged 45,000 per month thus far in 2015, compared
with an average monthly gain of 59,000 in 2014. In September, job gains occurred
in computer systems design and related services (+7,000) and in legal services
Retail trade employment trended up in September (+24,000), in line with its average
monthly gain over the prior 12 months (+27,000). In September, employment rose in
general merchandise stores (+10,000) and automobile dealers (+5,000).
Employment in food services and drinking places continued on an upward trend in
September (+21,000). Over the year, this industry has added 349,000 jobs.
Employment in mining continued to decline in September (-10,000), with losses
concentrated in support activities for mining (-7,000). Mining employment has
declined by 102,000 since reaching a peak in December 2014.
Employment in other major industries, including construction, manufacturing,
wholesale trade, transportation and warehousing, financial activities, and
government, showed little or no change over the month.
The average workweek for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls declined by
0.1 hour to 34.5 hours in September. The manufacturing workweek decreased by
0.2 hour to 40.6 hours, and factory overtime declined by 0.2 hour to 3.1 hours.
The average workweek for production and nonsupervisory employees on private
nonfarm payrolls decreased by 0.1 hour to 33.6 hours. (See tables B-2 and B-7.)
In September, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm
payrolls, at $25.09, changed little (-1 cent), following a 9-cent gain in August.
Hourly earnings have risen by 2.2 percent over the year. Average hourly earnings
of private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees were unchanged at
$21.08 in September. (See tables B-3 and B-8.)
The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for July was revised from +245,000
to +223,000, and the change for August was revised from +173,000 to +136,000. With
these revisions, employment gains in July and August combined were 59,000 less
than previously reported. Over the past 3 months, job gains have averaged 167,000
The Employment Situation for October is scheduled to be released on Friday,
November 6, 2015, at 8:30 a.m. (EST).