By Isaac Cohen*
The latest figures on employment in the US economy, released last week by the Labor Department, were a disappointment. Additionally, downward revisions of the employment figures for July and August indicate a slowdown in job creation during the third quarter. During 2014, monthly average job creation reached 260,000, while for the last quarter ending in September the monthly average was 167,000.
The White House Economic Advisors recognized that “slowing growth abroad and global financial turmoil” have slowed down “the domestic momentum” of the US economy. As evidenced by the employment figures, sectors such as manufacturing and commodity exports have been hurt by the strong dollar and weak demand in world markets, while the mining sector, which includes energy production, was affected by the fall in the prices of oil and natural gas.
Domestic market suppliers, such as professional and business services, entertainment and retail, all gained jobs in September. Even the government, at the state and local level, gained 24,000 new jobs in September. In all, job creation last month reached 142,000, while salaries stagnated and the unemployment rate remained at 5.1 percent, mainly because 350,000 persons stopped looking for work for different reasons. Therefore, the rate of participation in the labor force decreased to 62.4 percent, not seen since 1977.
*International analyst and consultant. Commentator on economic and financial issues for CNN en Español TV and radio. Former Director, UNECLAC.