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Editor's Blog ,

U.S. Employment Stagnates

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment in September continued to plod along, neither crashing or noticeably improving.

Over all, employment was down 92,000. That’s a meaningful number, but the losses were on the government-employment side, where 77,000 temporary census workers finished their assignments, and local governments continued to shed workers to deal with budget shortfalls. Public-sector job losses totaled 159,000.

The news in the private sector is a little better. There, employment increased by 64,000, numerically about half the number of new jobs the economy needed to create to employ the new adults entering the workforce, although it’s more than offset, of course, by those public-sector job losses.

So, while the unemployment rate remained the same at 9.6%, U.S. employment lost some a little ground last month, but not too much.

The health care sector had a decent month, adding 24,000 jobs. Employment services added 28,000 jobs, most of them in the temporary-employment industry. Manufacturing was flat, and jobs in the construction sector trended down modestly.

September, in other words, was another lost month for U.S. employment. But there is some reason for hope: In recent months our analysis of online employment ads, which is based on data from the Conference Board, clearly indicates that companies are starting to hire again, even if that trend hasn’t yet born fruit in the BLS statistics. We don’t have September numbers yet, but they should be available soon, and when they are, we’ll report them.