A Magic 7.8% Unemployment Rate in September


The Labor Department has released data on the September unemployment rate that is almost unbelievable. The official September unemployment rate is now magically put at 7.8%, versus a reading of 8.1% in August. Bloomberg was calling for the rate to be flat at 8.1%. Dow Jones was calling for 8.1% as well, with payrolls expected to be up 118,000.

This is the lowest official reading since January 2009. As a reminder, this is the next to last unemployment report before the election. It is also worth pointing out that the conspiracy theorists are not likely to believe this report's official unemployment rate as the Labor Department is often accused of being the most subject to finessed numbers under all presidential administrations.

The private sector payrolls expanded by 104,000 and government payrolls expanded by 10,000. Average earnings rose by seven cents to $23.58 per hour and the average work week rose by 0.1 hours to 34.5 hours. The report on the underemployed (part-time and underqualified jobs) remained steady at 14.5%.

August payrolls rose by 142,000, versus the original report of 96,000, and July payrolls rose by 181,000, versus a prior estimate of 141,000.


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