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Economic News Release
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Employment Situation Summary

Transmission of material in this news release is embargoed until		USDL-19-1735
8:30 a.m. (EDT) Friday, October 4, 2019

Technical information: 
 Household data:	(202) 691-6378  *  cpsinfo@bls.gov  *  www.bls.gov/cps
 Establishment data:	(202) 691-6555  *  cesinfo@bls.gov  *  www.bls.gov/ces

Media contact:		(202) 691-5902  *  PressOffice@bls.gov


The unemployment rate declined to 3.5 percent in September, and total nonfarm 
payroll employment rose by 136,000, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 
today. Employment in health care and in professional and business services continued 
to trend up.  

This news release presents statistics from two monthly surveys. The household survey 
measures labor force status, including unemployment, by demographic characteristics. 
The establishment survey measures nonfarm employment, hours, and earnings by industry. 
For more information about the concepts and statistical methodology used in these two 
surveys, see the Technical Note.

Household Survey Data

In September, the unemployment rate declined by 0.2 percentage point to 3.5 percent. 
The last time the rate was this low was in December 1969, when it also was 3.5 percent.
Over the month, the number of unemployed persons decreased by 275,000 to 5.8 million. 
(See table A-1.)

Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rate for Whites declined to 3.2 
percent in September. The jobless rates for adult men (3.2 percent), adult women 
(3.1 percent), teenagers (12.5 percent), Blacks (5.5 percent), Asians (2.5 percent), 
and Hispanics (3.9 percent) showed little or no change over the month. (See tables A-1, 
A-2, and A-3.)

Among the unemployed, the number of job losers and persons who completed temporary 
jobs declined by 304,000 to 2.6 million in September, while the number of new entrants 
increased by 103,000 to 677,000. New entrants are unemployed persons who never 
previously worked. (See table A-11.)

In September, the number of persons unemployed for less than 5 weeks fell by 339,000 
to 1.9 million. The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) 
was little changed at 1.3 million and accounted for 22.7 percent of the unemployed. 
(See table A-12.)

The labor force participation rate held at 63.2 percent in September. The employment-
population ratio, at 61.0 percent, was little changed over the month but was up by 
0.6 percentage point over the year. (See table A-1.)

The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons (sometimes referred to 
as involuntary part-time workers) was essentially unchanged at 4.4 million in September. 
These individuals, who would have preferred full-time employment, were working part time 
because their hours had been reduced or they were unable to find full-time jobs. 
(See table A-8.)

In September, 1.3 million persons were marginally attached to the labor force, down by 
278,000 from a year earlier. (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 321,000 discouraged workers in September, 
little changed from a year earlier. (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 978,000 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 136,000 in September. Job growth has 
averaged 161,000 per month thus far in 2019, compared with an average monthly gain 
of 223,000 in 2018. In September, employment continued to trend up in health care and in 
professional and business services. (See table B-1.)

In September, health care added 39,000 jobs, in line with its average monthly gain over 
the prior 12 months. Ambulatory health care services (+29,000) and hospitals (+8,000) 
added jobs over the month. 

Employment in professional and business services continued to trend up in September 
(+34,000). The industry has added an average of 35,000 jobs per month thus far in 2019, 
compared with 47,000 jobs per month in 2018.  

Employment in government continued on an upward trend in September (+22,000). Federal 
hiring for the 2020 Census was negligible (+1,000). Government has added 147,000 jobs 
over the past 12 months, largely in local government. 

Employment in transportation and warehousing edged up in September (+16,000). Within the 
industry, job growth occurred in transit and ground passenger transportation (+11,000) 
and in couriers and messengers (+4,000). 

Retail trade employment changed little in September (-11,000). Within the industry, 
clothing and clothing accessories stores lost 14,000 jobs, while food and beverage stores 
added 9,000 jobs. Since reaching a peak in January 2017, retail trade has lost 197,000 

Employment in other major industries, including mining, construction, manufacturing, 
wholesale trade, information, financial activities, and leisure and hospitality, showed 
little change over the month. 

In September, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls, 
at $28.09, were little changed (-1 cent), after rising by 11 cents in August. Over the 
past 12 months, average hourly earnings have increased by 2.9 percent. In September, average 
hourly earnings of private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees rose by 4 cents 
to $23.65. (See tables B-3 and B-8.)

The average workweek for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls was unchanged at 34.4 
hours in September. In manufacturing, the average workweek and overtime remained at 40.5 
hours and 3.2 hours, respectively. The average workweek of private-sector production and 
nonsupervisory employees held at 33.6 hours. (See tables B-2 and B-7.)

The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for July was revised up by 7,000 from 
+159,000 to +166,000, and the change for August was revised up by 38,000 from +130,000 to 
+168,000. With these revisions, employment gains in July and August combined were 45,000 
more than previously reported. (Monthly revisions result from additional reports received 
from businesses and government agencies since the last published estimates and from the 
recalculation of seasonal factors.) After revisions, job gains have averaged 157,000 per 
month over the last 3 months.

The Employment Situation for October is scheduled to be released on Friday, 
November 1, 2019, at 8:30 a.m. (EDT).

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Last Modified Date: October 04, 2019