US labour market – weaker but employment growth remains positive

Last Friday (October 7, 2022), the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released their latest labour market data – Employment Situation Summary – September 2022 – which reported a total payroll employment rise of only 263,000 jobs (further slowdown) and a drop (0.2 points) in the official unemployment rate to 3.5 per cent. Total labour force survey employment rose by just 204 thousand net (0.13 per cent), while the labour force declined by 57 thousand net (0.03 per cent) as a result of the decline in the participation rate of 0.1 points to 62.3 per cent. 4. As a result (in accounting terms), total measured unemployment fell by 261 thousand to 5,753 thousand which is why the unemployment rate fell by 0.2 points. However, while the unemployment rate fell, the combination of weakening employment growth and falling participation is a sign of a faltering labour market. There are also no fundamental wage pressures emerging at present to drive any further inflation spikes. Wages growth appears to be reactive to inflation rather than propelling it. The claim that wage pressures are now pushing inflation is untenable given the data.

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