The U.S. economy added a less-than-expected 156,000 jobs in September, according to economists who had predicted jobs increasing by about 175,000 last month.
The unemployment rate also increased from 4.9 percent in August to 5 percent in September.
Wages, however, saw a boost in September. There was a 6-cent increase in average hourly earnings last month, bringing the figure to $25.79. Wages have increased 2.6 percent from one year ago.
Elise Gould, senior economist at the Economic Policy Institute, released the following statement in response to the September jobs report:
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the economy added 156,000 new jobs in September–enough to absorb new entrants into the labor market and move us slowly closer to full employment. The unemployment rate ticked up slightly, but for the right reasons–the result of more workers entering the labor force, which may reflect optimism about future job prospects and economic growth.
While the economy continues to make progress, it’s important to emphasize how the recovery has been hampered by austerity at all levels of government. One notable example is the gap between public school employment and what’s needed to keep up with growth in the student population–the ‘teacher gap.’ As the school year began in earnest in September, there were still 214,000 fewer teachers than there were before the Great Recession, which, coupled with growth in public school enrollment, brings the teacher gap to 372,000. The costs of a significant teacher gap are measurable: larger class sizes, fewer teacher aides, fewer extracurricular activities, and less money being spent in local communities. Not only is it important that monetary policy makers keep their foot off the brake, but policymakers should reverse the austerity that’s been holding back the recovery.