US Unemployment Rate Lowest in Over 16 Years


US unemployment rate unexpectedly fell to 4.2 percent in September 2017 from 4.4 percent in the previous month and below market consensus of 4.4 percent. It was the lowest jobless rate since February 2001, as the number of unemployed persons declined by 331 thousand to 6.8 million. Meanwhile, the labor force participation rate rose by 0.2 percentage points to 63.1 percent, its highest level since March 2014.

Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult men (3.9 percent) and Blacks (7.0 percent) declined in September. The jobless rates for adult women (3.9 percent), teenagers (12.9 percent), Whites (3.7 percent), Asians (3.7 percent), and Hispanics (5.1 percent) showed little change.

The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) was essentially unchanged in September at 1.7 million and accounted for 25.5 percent of the unemployed.  

The employment-population ratio increased by 0.3 percentage point to 60.4 percent in September and has increased by 0.6 percentage point over the past 12 months. The labor force participation rate, at 63.1 percent, changed little over the month and has shown little movement over the year.  

The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons (sometimes referred to as involuntary part-time workers) was little changed at 5.1 million in September. These individuals, who would have preferred full-time employment, were working part time because their hours had been cut back or because they were unable to find full-time jobs.  

There were 1.6 million persons marginally attached to the labor force, down by 275,000 from a year earlier. (These data are not seasonally adjusted.) These individuals were not in the labor force, wanted and were available for work, and had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months. They were not counted as unemployed because they had not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey. Among the marginally attached, there were 421,000 discouraged workers in September, down by 132,000 from a year earlier. Discouraged workers are persons not currently looking for work because they believe no jobs are available for them. The remaining 1.1 million persons marginally attached to the labor force in September had not searched for work for reasons such as school attendance or family responsibilities.  

US Unemployment Rate Lowest in Over 16 Years


BLS | Joana Ferreira | joana.ferreira@tradingeconomics.com
10/6/2017 12:43:39 PM