Payrolls, phew

The US economy added (until revised) 103k jobs, well above expectations of 60k, led by the private sector which added 137k jobs vs the estimate of 90k. Also, Aug was revised up by 57k and July by 42k. While the household survey added 398k, the gain of 423k in the labor force led to an unchanged unemployment rate of 9.1%. The all in rate though rose to 16.5% from 16.2%, the highest since Nov ’10. Manufacturing lost jobs for a 2nd straight month but construction jobs grew by 26k (?). The financial sector lost 8k jobs but was offset by gains in business services, retail, info, and education/health. The Federal government, ex post office, added jobs and state governments did too but local government job cuts happened again. Also positively, avg weekly hours ticked up .1 and avg hourly earnings rose .2%. Negatively, the avg duration of unemployment rose to a new high of 40.5 weeks. Bottom line, 119k jobs per month have been created in 2011 on average, well below the 150-200k jobs that is needed to firmly lower the unemployment rate and eat into all the jobs lost in this recession but certainly for today, the better number eased major concerns about where this economy is headed, at least for now.

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