WCI, Inc
Oct. 10, 2022

September labor statistics

Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 263,000 in September, and the unemployment rate edged down to 3.5 percent, returning to its July level, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported October 7. The number of unemployed persons edged down to 5.8 million in September.

Monthly job growth has averaged 420,000 thus far in 2022, compared with 562,000 per month in 2021. Notable job gains occurred in leisure and hospitality (+83,000), health care (+60,000), professional and business services (+46,000), manufacturing (+22,000), construction (+19,000), and wholesale trade (+11,000). Employment decreased slightly in financial activities (-8,000) and transportation and warehousing (-8,000). Employment showed little change over the month in other major industries, including mining, retail trade, information, other services, and government.

Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rate for Hispanics decreased to 3.8 percent in September. The jobless rates for adult men (3.3 percent), adult women (3.1 percent), teenagers (11.4 percent), Whites (3.1 percent), Blacks (5.8 percent), and Asians (2.5 percent) showed little change over the month.

Among the unemployed, the number of permanent job losers decreased by 173,000 to 1.2 million in September. The number of persons on temporary layoff changed little at 758,000.

The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) was little changed at 1.1 million in September. The long-term unemployed accounted for 18.5 percent of all unemployed persons.

The labor force participation rate was little changed at 62.3 percent in September, and the employment-population ratio was unchanged at 60.1 percent. Both measures are 1.1 percentage points below their values in February 2020, prior to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons decreased by 306,000 to 3.8 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.

The number of persons not in the labor force who currently want a job was little changed at 5.8 million in September and remains above its February 2020 level of 5.0 million. These individuals were not counted as unemployed because they were not actively looking for work during the 4 weeks preceding the survey or were unavailable to take a job.

Among those not in the labor force who wanted a job, the number of persons marginally attached to the labor force was little changed in September at 1.6 million. These individuals wanted and were available for work and had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months but had not looked for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey. The number of discouraged workers, a subset of the marginally attached who believed that no jobs were available for them, increased by 119,000 to 485,000 in September.

COVID-specific data. In September, 5.2 percent of employed persons teleworked because of the coronavirus pandemic, down from 6.5 percent in the prior month. In May 2020, the first month these data were collected, 35.4 percent of employed persons teleworked because of the coronavirus pandemic. These data refer to employed persons who teleworked or worked at home for pay at some point in the 4 weeks preceding the survey specifically because of the pandemic.

In September, 1.4 million persons reported they had been unable to work because their employer closed or lost business due to the pandemic—that is, they did not work at all or worked fewer hours at some point in the 4 weeks preceding the survey due to the pandemic. This measure is down from 1.9 million in the previous month and from 49.8 million in May 2020. Among those who reported in September that they were unable to work because of pandemic-related closures or lost business, 21.4 percent received at least some pay from their employer for the hours not worked, essentially the same as in August.

Among those not in the labor force in September, 452,000 persons were prevented from looking for work due to the pandemic, little changed from the prior month. In May 2020, 9.7 million persons were prevented from looking for work due to the pandemic. (To be counted as unemployed, by definition, individuals must be either actively looking for work or on temporary layoff.)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

From WCI's HR Answers Now ©2022 CCH Incorporated and its affiliates. All rights reserved.

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