U.S job growth in September was described as not threatening to bring a double-dip to the recession, but not welcoming either.
The Labor Department reported Friday that employers added 103,000 jobs in the month, however, Verizon workers returning from a strike represented 45,000 of those gains.
The September unemployment rate held steady at 9.1%.
After initially reporting zero job growth for August, the figures were revised to show a gain of 57,000 jobs.
Revised numbers for July rose from 85,000 to 127,000 jobs.
That averages about 72,000 new jobs a month.
“What that means is that we are in a very stable employment growth mode, that’s not welcoming enough obviously to lower the unemployment rate but is not threatening enough either to the recovery,” said The Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation’s (LAEDC) Deputy Chief Economist Dr. John Blank.
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Unfortunately, jobs figures were double the current numbers during the first few months of the recovery.
Non-residential construction jobs added 26,000 jobs in the month of September.
“If this continues this is really good news,” said Blank.
Manufacturing employment decreased by 13,000 jobs. Blank says those figures did not include any jobs coming out of motor vehicles and parts which had strong sales volumes in the months September, August and July.
Retail Trade show positive gains overall, with 40 percent of that coming from temporary workers. The LAEDC says most employers will hire temporary help until they gain confidence in the economy.
Education and Health Care employment continues to be strong.
Blank says for the first time in many, many months Leisure and Hospitality jobs turned negative. September showed jobs 4,000 down, while a year ago that was plus 50,000 jobs.
“If you’re looking for a negative story, in a negative number you’re not going to find it here because Leisure and Hospitality we know room rates and restaurant numbers and hotel occupancies are strong right now,” Blank said.
The blind spot in the economy, according to Blank, is hiring in state and local governments. Instead of having 150,000 to 160,000 jobs September numbers revealed a deficit of 34,000 jobs.
Blank believes the solution to that can be found in Congress.
“We need to hope for the American Jobs Act. If it doesn’t pass in entirety at least the part that funds state and local government jobs, so that hole gets filled,” Blank said.
Blank believes headlines in the media have a strong influence on public confidence.
“Hopefully we will gain some more constructive view of the future, that takes us away from the double-dip story and at least into a modest growth story,” said Blank.
That he says will lead to much more broad based hiring than has been witnessed.
Before coming to the LAEDC, John Blank was a Senior Vice-President and Chief Sector/Industry Equity Strategist for Decision Economics, Inc., offering a variety of major financial institutions ‘top-down’ macroeconomic investment advice.
In this role, he managed the flagship Boston office, was responsible for the U.S. and global asset allocation practice, and wrote a monthly Industry Insight on one of ten major S&P 500 sectors. Previous to this role, he served as CEO of Media Derivatives, Inc., a CFTC approved start-up financial exchange focused on movies.
Blank holds a Ph.D. from M.I.T. in economics, has taken graduate coursework at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, both in Cambridge, MA, and earned a B.A. with Honors and Distinction in mathematical methods in the social sciences (MMSS) and economics from Northwestern University in Evanston, IL.
The LAEDC, the region’s economic development leadership organization, is a private, non-profit public benefit organization established in 1981 under section 501(c)(3). Its mission is to attract, retain, and grow business and jobs for the regions of Los Angeles County.
According to the LAEDC, since 1996 they have helped retain or attract more than 171,300 jobs while providing $8.4 billion in direct economic impact from salaries and more than $144 million in annual tax revenue benefit to local governments and education in Los Angeles County.