Economy produced fewer jobs than workers in September

Neil Munro White House Correspondent
Font Size:

The U.S. economy produced fewer jobs than workers in September, and made no progress in reducing the huge population of 22 million unemployed or underemployed Americans.

The household survey data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that 133,000 extra people got jobs, while the working-age population rose by 209,000.

“Today’s report shows the president has more than a troubled [Obamacare] website to fix — he has a troubled economy, weakened by years of failed ‘stimulus’ policies and excessive red tape,” said a statement from the GOP House Speaker, Rep. John Boehner.

“Republicans are going to continue to work to stop the president’s health-care law, and to pursue pro-growth policies that strengthen our economy and expand opportunity for all Americans,” said the statement.

Left-wing groups also panned the results. “This report demonstrates once again that we are far from a full recovery,” said the Economic Policy Institute.

Democrats, including Obama, say the economy can be boosted by more spending and more immigration. However, the federal government has spent roughly $6 trillion in deficit spending since 2009, without increasing the percentage of Americans at work.

Only 63.2 percent of working-age Americans have jobs, down from 63.6 percent in September 2012, and 65.7 percent when President Barack Obama was inaugurated in January 2009.

Data provided to the BLS in September by employers says 148,000 new jobs were created, mostly in lower-wage warehousing, construction and the wholesale trade.

Employment in finance dropped, while manufacturing and the health sector stayed flat.

The employer survey’s reported gain of 148,000 was well below expectations, but very close to the average of 141,000 jobs created in July and August.

Roughly 11.3 million people looked for jobs in the last four weeks, setting the formal unemployment rate at 7.2 percent, down a tenth of a point from the previous month.

However, many other Americans have given up looking for work, or are stuck in part-time jobs. The broader unemployment rate, or U-6 rate, is twice as high, or 14.2 percent, representing roughly 22 million unemployed or underemployed Americans.

The failures of Obama’s job policies are partly hidden by the relatively good job picture for higher-skilled college graduates, whose views have an outsized influence on the media’s coverage of the economy. Their unemployment rate is only 3.7 percent, although many hold low-skill hourly wage jobs that don’t require college degrees.

In contrast, the formal unemployment rate for people without college degrees is 7.6 percent. High-school dropouts have a formal unemployment rate of 10.6 percent.

The new report showed no increase in the number of part-time workers, now at 7.9 million, after an apparent increase during the first six months of the year. The increase may have been an extended statistical quirk.

The monthly population growth of Americans is augmented by roughly working-age 50,000 immigrants. That number likely would sharply rise if Boehner backs an Obama-based Senate immigration bill that would double the rate of immigration and allow 33 million legal immigrants over the next 10 years.

Follow Neil on Twitter