Lowest Unemployment Rate Since '69; Lowest Number of Unemployed Since 2000

By Susan Jones | October 5, 2018 | 8:51am EDT
 (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

(CNSNews.com) - "Just out: 3.7% Unemployment is the lowest number since 1969!" President Trump tweeted on Friday.

Not since the end of 1969 has the nation's unemployment rate been this low. The Bureau of  Labor Statistics reported on Friday that the unemployment rate dropped two-tenths of a point to 3.7 percent in September.

Last month, the number of employed Americans (155,962,000) remained near the record high of 155,965,000 set in July; and in September, the number of unemployed persons decreased by 270,000 to 5,964,000, a level not seen since 2000.

The unemployment rate for Hispanics, 4.5 percent, tied the record low set in July. For African-Americans, the unemployment rate in September was 6.0 percent, just a tenth of a point above the record low set in May.

And 70,656,000 women age 20+ were counted as employed in September, a record number for this group.

“Since the election, we have created over 4 million new jobs,” President Donald Trump told a rally in Minnesota Thursday night. “We've added nearly half a million new manufacturing jobs...and we have companies pouring into our country.”

On Friday morning, the Labor Department said another 134,000 jobs were created in September, a bit disappointing, since economists had projected a gain of 185,000 jobs.

But BLS also reported that total nonfarm payroll employment for July was revised up from +147,000 to +165,000, and the change for August was revised up from +201,000 to +270,000. With these revisions, employment gains in July and August combined were 87,000 more than previously reported. (Monthly revisions result from additional reports received from businesses and government agencies since the last published estimates and from the recalculation of seasonal factors.)

After revisions, job gains have averaged 190,000 per month over the last 3 months.

In September, the nation’s civilian noninstitutionalized population, consisting of all people age 16 or older who were not in the military or an institution, reached 258,290,000. Of those, 161,926,000 participated in the labor force by either holding a job or actively seeking one.

The 161,926,000 who participated in the labor force equaled 62.7 percent of the 258,290,000 civilian noninstitutionalized population, the same as August.

The higher the participation rate, the better, but economists expect this percentage to remain stagnant and decline in the years ahead as more baby boomers retire.

Another troubling number: BLS said a record 96,364,000 Americans were not in the labor force last month, meaning they did not have a job and were not looking for one, for whatever reason.

Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult women (3.3 percent) and Whites (3.3 percent) declined in September. The jobless rates for adult men (3.4 percent), teenagers (12.8 percent), Blacks (6.0 percent), Asians (3.5 percent), and Hispanics (4.5 percent) showed little or no change over the month.


Earlier this week, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that unemployment rates were lower in August than a year earlier in 340 of the 388 metropolitan areas it tracks, higher in 35 areas, and unchanged in 13 areas.

Fifty-seven areas had jobless rates of less than 3.0 percent and two areas had rates of at least 10.0 percent.

In August, Ames, IA, had the lowest unemployment rate, at 1.7 percent. Yuma, Ariz., and El Centro, CA, had the highest unemployment rates, 22.0 percent and 20.3 percent, respectively.

A total of 189 areas had August jobless rates above the U.S. rate of 3.9 percent, 186 areas had rates below it, and 13 areas had rates equal to that of the nation.

The largest over-the-year unemployment rate decreases occurred in Bay City, Mich., and Muskegon, Mich. (-2.0 percentage points each). Seventy-five additional areas had rate declines of at least 1.0 percentage point. Colorado Springs had the largest over-the-year rate increase in August (+0.9 percentage point).

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