September’s employment was a mixed bag. The headline job gains missed big with 194K new jobs compared to the consensus of 500K, and the participation rate dipped slightly as well, making it the second month of below expected job gains. However, on the plus side, the prior month’s revisions added 169K to prior reports, and the overall unemployment rate fell to 4.8% (though aided by the participation rate falling) from 5.2%. Also, on the plus side, average hourly earnings rose 0.6%, well above the 0.4% expected gain.
Initial jobless claims fell back down to the low 300K, beating expectations. This continues the longer-term trend of improving (declining) numbers after a couple of weeks of increasing numbers likely fueled by Hurricane Ida impacts, which are now disappearing rapidly.
The debt ceiling can was kicked down the road several weeks after the Senate struck a deal. The deal helped give the market some breathing room with the VIX coming down a bit and the S&P 500 creeping higher on Thursday. While avoiding default, for now, is nice, we’re not looking forward to seeing the same series of headlines again in early December.