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You are Here: Home > Blog > Unemployment Rate – September 2017

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Unemployment Rate – September 2017

Saturday, October 7th, 2017

In September the economy lost jobs for the first time in seven years, thanks to hurricanes. The unemployment rate dropped by 0.2 percentage points.

According to the most recent monthly report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the private sector lost 40,000 nonfarm jobs in September. Local, state and federal governments gained 7,000 jobs, resulting in 33,000 total net job loses. Analysts had expected a total of around 90,000 job gains.

Most of the job losses were due to damages to businesses caused by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. The economy hasn’t suffered job losses since 2010, during the Great Recession. Job gains might surge in the next month or two, because of people and businesses rebuilding or repairing after hurricane damage.

After BLS revisions, July and August combined showed 38,000 fewer jobs than the BLS initially reported for the two months. Over the past three months, job gains have averaged 91,000 per month. Job gains have averaged 172,000 per month in the past year.

At 105,000, food services and drinking places lost the most jobs due to hurricane damage, after averaging job gains of 24,000 per month in the prior 12 months. Health care (23,000), transportation and warehousing (22,000), and professional and business services (13,000) experienced the most-significant job gains in September (job gains shown in parenthesis). Other major industries showed little change.

The unemployment rate in September dropped from 4.4 to 4.2 percent.

The average hourly wage for all private-sector employees showed a monthly gain, rising by 12 cents to $26.55. The average hourly wage increased by 9 cents to $22.23 for private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees.

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Unemployment Rate 2016-2017
Unemployment Rate Chart 2016 to 2017

The total number of workers that the BLS counted as unemployed in September was 6.8 million. The count of unemployed workers does not include those who are involuntarily working only part time and with fewer benefits, if any, such as no health insurance, because they can’t find full-time jobs or employers cut their work hours. The number of involuntarily part-timers in September was 5.1 million.

The average workweek in September for all part-timers and full-timers in the private sector was 34.4 hours.

The unemployment rate also does not include “marginally-attached” unemployed workers. The BLS does not count them in the official rate because they stopped looking for work in the four weeks preceding the count, for reasons such as school attendance, family matters or their collective perception that there simply are no jobs — at least not for them.

The number of marginally-attached workers in September was 1.6 million, down by 275,000 from a year earlier. Among the marginally-attached, 421,000 were so-called “discouraged workers” because they gave up looking for work due to their shared perception that there are no jobs. That was down by 132,000 from a year earlier. (The BLS does not seasonally adjust any of the figures in this paragraph.)

The number of long-term unemployed workers, those who have been without jobs for 27 weeks or longer, was 1.7 million in September. These workers accounted for 25.5 percent of the unemployed. Standard state unemployment benefits last only up to 26 weeks without extensions.

If you are a recent victim of a job loss or a reduction in work hours, then you might be eligible to collect full or partial unemployment benefits from the state unemployment office. You might also be eligible to continue your employer-provided group health insurance coverage through COBRA.

For more details about the September 2017 unemployment rate and job numbers, see the “Employment Situation Summary” by the BLS. The BLS plans to report the October 2017 unemployment rate and job numbers on Friday, November 3. To receive notification like the above automatically, subscribe to Employee Rights Blog for free.

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Except where otherwise noted, figures in this unemployment rate report were rounded and/or seasonally adjusted by the BLS, and are subject to revision by same (based on additional data that was not initially available). The unemployment rate chart pictured above was provided by the BLS.

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