Highlights of the non-farm payrolls report for September 2017

  • Prior was +156K (revised to 169K)
  • Estimates ranged from -45K to +153K
  • Private payrolls -40K vs +75K expected
  • Unemployment rate 4.2% vs 4.4% expected (lowest since 2001)
  • Participation rate 63.1% vs 62.9% prior
  • July revised to 138K from 189K

Wages data:

  • Average hourly earnings +0.5% vs +0.3% expected
  • Prior average hourly earnings +0.1% (revised to +0.2%)
  • Average hourly earnings +2.9% vs +2.6% expected
  • Prior y/y earnings +2.5% (revised to +2.7%)
  • Average weekly hours 34.4 vs 34.4 expected

Hurricane Irma hit during the survey week. One line of thinking -- one that I warned about before the report -- is that utility workers and some other highly-paid jobs worked a lot of overtime due to the storms and that boosted wages. To wit, utilities wages were up 1.3% y/y compared to a flat reading the month before. Meanwhile, low-wage workers like restaurants were shut down because of the hurricanes so that skews the average as well.

That said, there was more than just a bump here. The prior jobs and wages were both revised higher.

The BLS said data collection procedures were not altered and data collection rates were close to normal levels.