Economic research

September jobs report good, but below expectations

What happened in the September jobs report?

Employers added 194,000 net new jobs to payrolls according to the September jobs report released today, a positive total but below expectations. Compensating for this disappointing total somewhat, historical data has been revised upwards so that an additional 169,000 jobs have been added to the previously released July and August data.

Despite September’s weaker-than-expected job addition, the jobless rate fell significantly, registering 4.8%, 0.4 percentage points below its August reading. With jobless claims stubbornly stuck just above the 300,000 level, a drop in COVID cases since mid-September and new treatments this week could be just the boost the economy has had. need to overcome the hump. The total number of employees is now less than 5 million or 3.3% of the pre-pandemic peak, but at this month’s rate of hiring, we are still a few years away from reaching this milestone again. . However, if hiring returns to its summer pace, we could easily return to that level within a year.

The pandemic recovery continues

Several industries hard hit by the pandemic continued to see job gains, with the biggest gains in September being leisure and hospitality, professional and business services, retail trade, and transportation and storage. Construction jobs were little changed and remain at about 200,000 jobs or 2.6% below the previous peak.

The Hispanic unemployment rate was 6.3 in September, coinciding with the first half of Hispanic Heritage Month. Our research shows that greater job losses among Hispanics early in the pandemic period slowed their participation in the housing market, but more recent job gains have led to the growing number and share of Hispanic home buyers in today’s market.

What today’s data means for home buyers and sellers and the housing market

For home buyers and sellers, today’s job gains likely mean a return to the modest upward trend in mortgage rates, although we may see some favorable to buyers decreases week by week like we did this week. The best way for homebuyers to manage this variability is to plan for a variety of scenarios. Mortgage affordability calculators can help you crunch the numbers and understand how mortgage rate changes will ultimately affect your monthly costs and budget. Today’s data also signals continued economic progress that will help support housing demand in the year ahead.


Danielle Hale