September Job Creation Falls Short

October 8, 2004 ( - The nation's job-creation machine was weaker than expected in September as the unemployment rate held steady, the government reported.

The US Department of Labor (DoL) said employers brought on 96,000 new employees during the month – significantly below the 148,000 hires predicted in Reuters’ regular survey of Wall Street economists.

The department also revised down its estimate of August new jobs to 128,000 from the 144,000 it reported a month ago. The DoL also said that, according to preliminary estimates, the economy added about 236,000 more jobs than previously thought in the year ended March 2004. The jobless rate remained at 5.4%.

According to a DoL news release, w ithin the service-providing sector, employment in financial activities increased by 26,000 over the month and by 108,000 since the beginning of the year.  Rental and leasing added 7,000 jobs in September, following a similar increse in August.  Employment in finance and insurance edged up in September, and real estate continued to add jobs.
Meanwhile, employment in professional and technical services grew by 24,000 in September.  Since August 2003, this industry has added 205,000 jobs.  Temporary help services employment was up by 33,000 in September, following two months of smaller increases.  Employment in management of companies and enterprises fell by 11,000 over the month, following a smaller decline in August.
Employment in health care and social assistance was little changed in September.  Over the prior 12 months, job gains in this industry averaged 24,000 a month.  Within the industry, child day care services lost 14,000 jobs in September.  Employment in doctors’ offices rose by 8,000.   

Also, the information industry continued to shed jobs in September (-12,000). Most of the over-the-month job loss occurred in telecommunications (-9,000); employment in this industry is down by 302,000 since its most recent peak in March 2001.
The DoL said its latest data indicates that about 585,000 jobs have been lost since President Bush took office in January 2001.