For the first time in seven years, the U.S. economy did not add any jobs month-over-month in September 2017. Rather, it lost 33,000 jobs, according to the October report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). However, the unemployment rate fell to its lowest number since 2011, and wage growth increased to an annual 2.9% from 2.5% in August.
Economists believe that the disappointing figure can be attributed to the weather. Goldman Sacs estimated that $100 billion in hurricane damage from Harvey and Irma affected 10% of the population. Particularly, jobs in food services and drinking places were hit hard, losing 105,000 jobs in September 2017, despite having added an average of 24,000 jobs per month over the past year. Job growth for the month was expected to be lower than usual due to the effects of the hurricanes, but did not generally predict an actual decline.
On a positive note for the non-employment workforce market, temporary help jobs rose by 5,900 in September from August. Temporary jobs also gained as a percentage of total employment with the temp penetration rate reaching a high of 2.082% in September 2017, up from 2.078% in August.
The Three Cs
According to the latest 10-year forecast from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), manufacturing will fall and retail will be unstable. The slowest growing jobs are those that can be automated such as typists or those that are threatened by changing consumer behavior such as clothing store cashiers, as more people shop online. The fastest growing jobs are in the Three Cs – Care, Computers, and Clean Energy.
Personal-care aids, who perform non-medical duties for older people, is an occupation expected to grow rapidly. Together with home-health aides, these two occupations are expected to create 1.1 million new jobs in the next decade, which is 10% of the total 11.5 million jobs the BLS projects the economy to add. Clean-energy workers, such as solar-panel installers and wind-turbine technicians, are occupations expected to double by 2026. Professions such as mathematicians, statisticians, and software developers are also among the top ten fastest growing jobs.