The headline number of the September jobs report was bad, but the rest was very strong.
The report, released Friday, showed the U.S. economy lost 33,000 jobs last month, way below the consensus and what we’ve seen much of this year.
Although the Bureau of Labor Statistics said it couldn’t quantify the overall impact of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, which pulverized Texas and Florida, it did say the two storms likely led to the loss of 105,000 jobs in restaurants, which have been stellar job creators. (The BLS also revised down July’s and August’s new jobs by 38,000, making those two months before the hurricanes look less robust.)
But there was plenty of good news to feast on, too.
First, the unemployment rate fell to 4.2%, its lowest since January 2001. (The nearly half-century low of 3.8% was in April 2000.) The jobless rate for all adults fell under 4%.
Second, labor force participation rose 0.2% to 63.1%, its highest since March 2014, as 575,000 new people entered the workforce last month.
Finally, wages grew at an annual rate of 2.9%, tying last December for the post-recession best.
Sounds like it’s about as good as it gets. So, what’s the problem?