business team applauds the new employee

Nonfarm payroll employment gained 263,000 jobs in September, following the addition of 315,000 jobs in August and coming in below the monthly average of 420,000 jobs, according to the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics

Job growth in leisure and hospitality, healthcare

The leisure and hospitality industry led job growth in September with the addition of 83,000 jobs, with most of those jobs in food services and drinking places (+60,000). The industry is still down 1.1 million jobs from its pre-pandemic level.

Healthcare employment, however, has returned to its pre-pandemic status, adding 60,000 jobs in September.

Other industries with job gains over the month included:

  • Professional and business services (+46,000)
  • Manufacturing (+22,000)
  • Construction (+19,000)
  • Wholesale trade (+11,000)

Employment declined slightly in financial activities (-8,000) and transportation and warehousing (-8,000).

Unemployment rates edge down

The unemployment rate returned to 3.5% in September, down from 3.7% in August, and the total number of unemployed people inched down to 5.8 million.

The unemployment rates for most major worker groups also dropped slightly in September: 

  • Adult men: 3.3% (3.5% in August)
  • Adult women: 3.1% (3.3% in August)
  • Teenagers: 11.4% (10.4% in August)
  • Black: 5.8% (6.4% in August)
  • Hispanic: 3.8% (4.5% in August)
  • Asian: 2.5% (2.8% in August)
  • White: 3.1% (3.2% in August)

Pandemic-related job loss continues to lessen

The number of people experiencing permanent job loss dropped by 173,000 to 1.2 million in September, while those experiencing temporary layoffs held fairly steady at 758,000. Long-term unemployment (jobless for 27 weeks or more) also changed little at 1.1 million (18.5% of the total unemployed). And the labor force participation rate came in at 62.3% for the month, 1.1% below its pre-pandemic status.

Pandemic-related teleworking dropped from 6.5% to 5.2% in September, and 1.4 million people were unable to work because of pandemic-related business closures (down from 1.9 million). The number of people unable to look for work due to the pandemic fell slightly to 452,000.

Average hourly earnings for private nonfarm employees continue to trend upward, rising $0.10 to reach $32.46 in September. Over the past 12 months, this average has increased 5.0%.