The Labor Department reported Tuesday that the economy added just 148k new jobs in September, down from a revised 193k jobs added in August. The report, which had been delayed by the government shutdown, was a disappointment. Economists had expected the economy to add over 180k jobs last month. The unemployment dipped a notch to 7.2%, as more Americans left the labor force.
136,000 Americans left the labor force in September. Compared to last year, the number of Americans not in the labor force increased by more than 2 million.
The September jobs report shows that the economy is still struggling to add jobs. The 148k net jobs created in September is far below the level needed to keep up with population growth. In September, the working age population of the country increased by more than 200k. Sustained months of hiring above that level are necessary for the long-term unemployed to reenter the labor market.
The recession officially ended over 4 years ago. Since then, the federal government and Federal Reserve have pumped trillions of dollars into the economy. Yet, the job market is essentially flat. This “new normal” is not sustainable.