Payroll gains don’t budge jobless rate

Job growth improved slightly in the United States in September, but not enough to budge the unemployment rate.

According to the latest Labor Department estimates, nonfarm payrolls rose 103,000, but the national jobless rate remained unchanged at 9.1 percent for a third consecutive month.

In addition to the September payroll gains, initial estimates for job growth were revised upward for August and July.

What initially was reported as no net job gain in August was revised to an increase of 57,000. The July gain was revised from 85,000 to 127,000.

Nonetheless, job growth has slowed in the United States. Nonfarm payrolls have increased an average of 72,000 a month since April. That’s less than half the average gain of 161,000 for the prior seven months.

For September, employment in professional and business services rose 48,000, while the health care sector added 44,000 net new jobs. The information sector gained a net 34,000 jobs after 45,000 telecommunications workers returned to payrolls after an August strike. The construction sector added another 26,000.

Government employment continued to trend downward with a decrease of 34,000 in September. Government payrolls have dropped 535,000 since September 2008.

Manufacturers reported a net loss of 13,000 jobs, while employment at electronic and appliance stores fell 9,000.

The average workweek for employees on private nonfarm payrolls edged up a tenth of an hour to 34.3 hours. The average manufacturing workweek slipped a tenth of an hour to 40.2 hours.

Average hourly earnings for employees on private nonfarm payrolls increased 4 cents to $23.12. Over the past year, earnings have increased 1.9 percent.