October 13th, 2021
The economy\’s stop-start job recovery continued with weak job gains, while layoffs declined more than expected, and consumer borrowing inched up
The U.S. economy added 194,000 jobs in September, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported last week. Job categories that contributed to last month\’s employment gains included leisure and hospitality, professional and business services, retail, transportation and warehousing.
The unemployment rate declined in September to 4.8 percent from 5.2 percent in August, and the unemployed population fell by 710,000 people to 7.7 million in September.
The population of long-term unemployed Americans – those who haven\’t had jobs for 27 weeks or longer – declined by 496,000 people in September to 2.7 million people. This represented 34.5 percent of the total unemployed population.
September\’s job gains were weak compared to the 366,000 jobs gained in August and the 943,000 jobs gained in July. What we\’re likely seeing is a labor shortage in play with workers holding out for better pay or until healthcare brings the Delta variant under more control.
Consumer borrowing grew in August, but at the slowest rate in seven months. Total consumer borrowing rose to $4.346 trillion during August, which was 0.32 percent over July\’s total outstanding of $4.332 trillion, the Federal Reserve reported last week.
August\’s $14 billion increase was off from the $17 billion gain analysts had expected for the month.
Non-revolving debt, such as student and car loans, increased to $3.345 trillion in August from July\’s figure of $3.333 trillion.
Revolving debt, which is mainly credit card spending, climbed to $1.001 trillion in August, from July\’s total of $998.6 billion.
Initial Jobless Claims
In related news, first-time claims for unemployment benefits filed by recently unemployed Americans during the week ending October 2nd declined to 326,000, which was 38,000 claims down from the preceding week\’s revised total of 364,000, the Employment and Training Administration reported last week.
The decline put initial claims for the week well below economists\’ expectations for a much smaller drop to 345,000 claims.
The four-week moving average – regarded as a more reliable measure of jobless claims – grew to 344,000 claims, which was 3,500 claims above the previous week\’s revised average of 340,500.
This week, we can expect:
Wednesday – Consumer prices for September from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Thursday – Initial jobless claims for last week from the Employment and Training Administration; producer prices for September from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Friday – Retail sales and business inventories for September from the Census Bureau; consumer sentiment for October from the University of Michigan Surveys of Consumers.
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