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Labor: Job Numbers Rise, and Did in August, Too

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Labor: Job Numbers Rise, and Did in August, Too

Economy

Labor: Job Numbers Rise, and Did in August, Too

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STEVE INSKEEP, host:

NPR's business news starts with some good news for the economy.

(Soundbite of music)

INSKEEP: It was a big surprise when the government's report on employment this morning. The Department of Labor effectively said, well, oops, we were wrong. Things weren't really all that bad at the end of the summer as NPR's Adam Davidson reports.

ADAM DAVIDSON: The U.S. economy created 110,000 jobs in September. That's clearly good news for a lot of people but even better was the correction from the Labor Department. Last month, some might remember, they said that employment was down in August, the first drop in years. It was scary for many because it implied that the U.S. economy might be failing more quickly than anyone thought. It's one of the reasons the dollar got even weaker. Well, today, the department's Bureau of Labor Statistics said they were wrong. Employment actually went up in August, not down. And employment went up in September too. That means that the U.S. economy is doing much better than people had thought.

Putting things in some perspective, though, it reveals it's not the greatest possible news for laid off workers. While there were 200,000 new jobs created in the last two months, that's around half of what the economy was creating a year ago. So, employment grew, just not nearly fast as it used to. One odd statistic: Even though there were more jobs, the unemployment rate went up a tenth, to 4.7 percent of U.S. workers. That's counter-intuitive. The unemployment rate should go down if there is less unemployment. But the rise was the result of more people entering the labor force and looking for jobs.

Adam Davidson, NPR News.

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