Today’s job numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed that 114,000 jobs were added in September and the unemployment rate dropped significantly to 7.8 percent. This is one of those months where the two main surveys are telling somewhat different stories. The establishment survey (which provides the job count) shows the kind of steady but modest growth we’ve been seeing for the last two-and-a-half years – job growth that is just enough to keep up with growth in the potential workforce. On the other hand, the household survey (which provides the unemployment rate) was extremely positive, with a substantial drop (three-tenths of a percentage point) in the unemployment rate. Further good news: the drop in the unemployment rate was due to people getting jobs, not due to them leaving the labor force – the labor force participation rate increased one-tenth of a percentage point to 63.6 percent, and the share of working-age people with a job increased by four-tenths of a percentage point to 58.7 percent.
This is from a source I trust to tell it straight, the Economic Policy Institute. They're for what I'm for--more and better-compensated jobs as the foundation for a strong economy built on a large and healthy middle class. Piece written by Heidi Shierholz earlier today. One of their publications, The State of Working America, is a widely cited and respected resource that features data on family incomes, wages, jobs, unemployment, wealth, and poverty that they mean to "allow for a clear, unbiased understanding of the economy's effect on the living standards of working Americans."