September Jobs Report Exceeds Expectations

The job market remained quite strong in September, with nonfarm employment increasing by 336,000, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday.  

The BLS reported job gains in leisure and hospitality, government, health care, professional, scientific and technical services and social assistance.

“Not only did the pace of job growth pick up, but the unemployment rate remained steady at a quite low 3.8%,” MBA Senior Vice President and Chief Economist Mike Fratantoni said. “Moreover, job growth numbers for the prior two months were also revised much higher.”

Fratantoni noted wage growth is cooling somewhat at 4.2% over the past 12 months, but said that is still likely too fast to be consistent with the Fed’s 2% inflation target.

“This report certainly surprised the market, which had been expecting a slowdown and longer-term rates jumped in response,” Fratantoni said. “Mortgage rates will follow which will likely mean that lending activity, which was already at a multi-decade low, is not going to pick up anytime soon.”