Reuters reports that Wall Street economists had expected a loss of 143,000 jobs, while the actual job loss came to 35,000. Gains in some regions offset the layoffs caused by the Hurricane Katrina disaster. Economists correctly predicted the unemployment rate at 5.1%, though.
The Department of Labor (DoL) said that job growth for September would have likely fallen in line with the 194,000 average over the past year if not for Katrina, according to Reuters. September was the first month in which there was an overall job loss since May 2003, when a 26,000 loss was reported.
Industry data reported by the DoL’s Bureau of Labor Statistics include:
- Retail trade lost 88,000 jobs in September, with declines spread across several component industries. Over the prior 12 months, employment in retail trade had increased by 18,000 per month on average. In September, there were job losses in clothing and accessories stores (28,000), sporting goods stores (17,000), and building material and garden supply stores (9,000). Over the month, food and beverage stores lost 30,000 jobs, much of which was due to store closings unrelated to the hurricane.
- Employment in the leisure and hospitality industry fell by 80,000 in September, partly due to the hurricane. Employment in food services, which includes restaurants and drinking places, decreased by 54,000 over the month, after averaging monthly gains of 23,000 jobs during the 12 months ending in August. Amusements, gambling, and recreation lost 19,000 jobs in September.
- Manufacturing employment was down by 27,000 and has declined by 118,000 over the year. The September job decline was concentrated in transportation equipment, reflecting a strike of 18,000 workers in the aerospace industry. Employment declines in electrical equipment and appliances (4,000) and paper and paper products (3,000) were offset by a gain in machinery manufacturing of 7,000.
- Employment in transit and ground passenger transportation declined by 8,000 in September. Air transportation lost 6,000 jobs over the month; about half of the job loss was due to strike activity in the industry. Truck transportation employment was flat in September and has shown little change since June.
- Professional and business services employment rose by 52,000 in September. More than half of the employment increase was in temporary help services (32,000), where hurricane recovery efforts may have boosted hiring. Employment in architectural and engineering services rose by 8,000 over the month. These increases were partly offset by a decline in legal services of 7,000.
- Health care employment continued to grow in September, rising by 37,000. Ambulatory health care services, which include doctors’ offices and outpatient clinics, added 16,000 jobs. Hospitals and nursing and residential care facilities also contributed to the employment gain.
- Construction employment rose by 23,000 in September, about in line with the industry’s average monthly gain over the past year. Job gains in September were concentrated largely among residential specialty trade contractors. Mining employment continued to trend upward, adding 5,000 jobs over the month. Supportactivities for mining operations accounted for much of the increase.
Revised estimates for job growth for July and August were reported by the DoL at a 77,000 total, Reuters said. The DoL said 211,000 jobs were created in August instead of 169,000, and 277,000 were created in July instead of 242,000.