Labor report: payrolls up, unemployment down

Payrolls grew and the unemployment rate edged down in September in the United States, according to labor estimates released more than two weeks late because of a partial federal government shutdown.

Nonfarm payrolls rose an estimated 148,000 as the jobless rate ticked down a tenth of a point to 7.2 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported.

The latest statistical snapshot of the labor market originally was scheduled for release Oct. 4, but was delayed because of the shutdown.

Numbers for October are scheduled for release Nov. 8, a week later than usual.

The initial estimate for payroll gains in August was revised upward 24,000 to 193,000. But the initial estimate for July was revised downward 15,000 to 89,000, the smallest monthly gain in more than a year. With the revised numbers, nonfarm payrolls have increased an average of 185,000 a month over the past year.

The unemployment rate has decreased four-tenths of a point since June, falling to its lowest level since November 2008.

For September, payroll gains were spread out over a number of industry sectors.

Professional and business services added 32,000 net new jobs, while employment in transportation and warehousing grew 23,000. Construction payrolls increased 20,000 after showing little change over the prior six months. Employment rose 16,000 in wholesale trades and 5,000 in retail trades. Health care employment continued to trend upward, but at a slower pace with 7,000 net new jobs.

The leisure and hospitality sector lost a net 7,000 jobs in September, while payrolls showed little change in other sectors.

The average workweek for employees on private, nonfarm payrolls remained unchanged in September at 34.5 hours. The manufacturing workweek held steady at 40.8 hours.

Average hourly earnings for employees on private, nonfarm payrolls rose 3 cents to $24.09 in September. Average hourly earnings have increased by 49 cents, or 2.1 percent, over the past year.