October 24, 2019

The number of jobs in September was up 1.4 percent from last year, a repeat of August and a confirmation that the August data weren’t an outlier. It’s now most likely that we’ll see a further weakening in the months ahead, and the big question is whether the economy can keep gliding along at this reduced pace.

The last two recessions began when job growth edged down towards 1 percent and then swiftly dropped to zero and below. If we see a break point like this again, job growth could be negative in the next year.

Jobs in September were up 2.6 percent in healthcare, 2.1 percent in business services, 2 percent at restaurants, 1.2 percent in finance, and 0.8 percent in government. Retail jobs were down again. Although jobs were up in manufacturing and construction, both sectors continue on a downward trend – a negative indicator for the economy. And within business services, temp jobs – another bell-weather category – were up just 0.6 percent.

There’s more bad news than good news here, because it’s difficult to see how these negative trends will be reversed.