September jobs report released, after shutdown causes delay

After having been delayed due to the government shutdown, the jobs report for September 2013 has been released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, offering hiring managers and would-be applicants alike further insights into the current market. 

Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 148,000 positions in September, leaving the unemployment rate relatively stagnant compared to the past month at 7.2 percent, according to the Bureau's press release.

The number of total unemployed persons has decreased by more than 520,000 since June. However, the number of long-term unemployed individuals – those who have been jobless for 27 weeks or more – remained little changed, at 4.1 million. That accounts for 36.9 percent of all unemployed individuals. Many economists have stated that they believe the latest report indicates a continued sluggishness for the U.S. job market.

"Fewer jobs than hoped for, an employment rate that changed little, as the Bureau of Labor Statistics put it – in short, this morning's job numbers reflect another month of anemic growth," said Paul Solman, a commentator at PBS, speaking on the television station. 

Richard Freeman, of Harvard University, was also quoted by PBS, speaking about how the small improvements displayed by the report are lackluster for the economy in general.

"It's typical of the numbers we have been seeing over the last couple years, small improvement in jobs, not enough to bring us back to a strong economy, and the government sector keeps slightly declining, now, not as much as it was, private sector balancing that out with growth," Freeman told the PBS audiences. "But we're still in a very weak labor market."

Businesses struggling to obtain capital to make new hires
For workers struggling to earn highly competitive work positions – such as finance careers – the problem may be more deeply ingrained than their own resume or experiences.

Kathy Bostjancic, director of macroeconomic analysis at The Conference Board, noted in a statement that the overall economic and job growth rate seen in the second quarter had slowed dramatically, from 2.5 percent down to less than 2.0 during the third quarter.

"Consumer demand remains constrained by household caution, business investment remains largely on hold, and the Federal Government continued to operate under sequestration, ahead of the budget showdown in October ," Bostjancic explained in the statement. "In addition, with inflation very low, business is trying to limit increases in labor costs. In short, the demand isn't there and the money to pay additional workers isn't there."

Speaking to Forbes, PNC senior economist Gus Faucher warned that employment – including finance positions like accounting jobs or hedge fund jobsremains down significantly from pre-recession peaks. He cited the fact that the labor force participation rate had hit a decades-long low as proof that the employment market has yet to make a complete recovery. 

Specific industries – including finance – experienced significant gains
Some businesses experienced greater employment increases than others, giving individuals working in specific sectors – including finance – better hope than most. The Bureau's report notes that employment in professional and business services continued to trend upward, gaining approximately 32,000 jobs during the month.

However, employment growth in this industry had averaged increases of more than 50,000 over the past 12 months, further illustrating the slowing market trends identified by the aforementioned economists. Jobs in the financial activities industry also declined in September, by roughly 8,000 jobs.

Accounting jobs saw a small increase during September, according to the bureau, gaining a 0.7 percent increase in the workforce. Commercial banking jobs, however, saw a noted decrease, losing 1.7 percent of their pre-September workforce. The real estate industry saw some of the biggest gains of the financial sector, with employment moving up by 2.5 percent.

Millennial applicants struggling to obtain new jobs
Still speaking to PBS, Richard Freeman noted that the unemployment rate is heavily affecting millennial workers and postgraduates.

"The unemployment rate is higher than it has been for a long, long time, remains high," Freeman said, while speaking on the network. "The employment rate remains low, and it looks as if, among 16-to-19-year-olds, they have lost about 10 percentage points of jobs. There's Just no evidence that we're going recovery to where we were before the Wall Street implosion and ensuing recession."

Many millennial workers have been forced to take part time jobs to make up for their inability to find full-time employment. Evan Feinberg, president of Generation Opportunity, spoke to The Guardian about the struggles experienced by younger members of the workforce.

"The lucky few among us who have been able to secure employment in today's economy are more often than not finding themselves in part-time jobs for which they are overqualified and underpaid," Feinberg told the news outlet. 

The struggles experienced by younger workers perhaps suggests that further educational pursuits – such as earning an MBA – may be beneficial in their attempts to find solid, consistent employment.