Job Growth Remains Slow, Wages Drop

Unemployment hit a 50-year low in September 2019, even though non-farm payrolls rose by just 136,000, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported at the end of the third quarter.

The unemployment rate declined to 3.5 percent in September. Employment in health care and in professional and business services continued to trend up.

The news continues a “steady but disappointing job gains that masks deeply rooted economic challenges,” Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD) responded to the report. “The administration has not kept its promises to focus on the economy and help working people get ahead.  Trade wars and uncertainty have led to a contraction in manufacturing and a drop in consumer confidence. Wages fell for the first month in almost two years and the year-over-year change was the slowest in a year.”

Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rate for whites declined to 3.2% in September. The jobless rates for adult men (3.2 percent), adult women (3.1 percent),  teenagers (12.5 percent), blacks (5.5 percent), Asians (2.5 percent), and Hispanics (3.9 percent) showed little or no change over the month, according to the report.

Among the unemployed, the number of job losers and persons who completed temporary jobs declined by 304,000 to 2.6 million in September, while the number of new entrants increased by 103,000 to 677,000. New entrants are unemployed persons who never previously worked. In September, the number of persons unemployed for less than 5 weeks fell by 339,000 to 1.9 million. The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) was little changed at 1.3 million and accounted for 22.7 percent of the unemployed.

Rep. Hoyer calls on the Senate GOP to “partner with Democrats with us in this work to strengthen our economy and ensure that everyone in this country can make it in America. Democrats believe there is a better way forward by passing legislation to expand economic opportunity, raise wages, lower health care and prescription drug costs, and lift millions out of poverty.

“We are also working to address drivers of uncertainty, such as ensuring the government is responsibly funded on time,” he said, referencing the approaching deadline to put a full budget in place to run the federal government through the new fiscal year.

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For more information about House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer, visit his Leader member page.