U.S. Economy Adds Jobs, Manufacturing Loss Slows

By John S. McClenahen With Major League Baseball's playoff games continuing, it's particularly appropriate that U.S. employment data hit a significant double on Oct. 3. The economy added 57,000 jobs during September, and the rate of job loss in manufacturing slowed to 29,000, the U.S. Labor Department reported. Meanwhile, the overall U.S. unemployment rate remained 6.1%, matching its August mark. September was the first time the U.S. economy has added jobs since January of this year, and the gain contrasts with the loss of 25,000 jobs that economists generally expected. For the year leading up to September, U.S. manufacturing had shed an average of 54,000 jobs per month. September's loss figure was 25,000 less than the recent average, primarily as a result of fewer layoffs among durable-goods producers. Although the general hiring did not reach U.S. factories in September, "job losses moderated, and the workweek lengthened, consistent with the notion that manufacturing is recovering," says Maury Harris, chief U.S. economist at UBS Investment Research, New York. Another positive sign, says Harris, is that temporary employment rose by 33,000 in September. "Temp workers often are added before companies, particularly manufacturing concerns, commit to permanent hires," he notes.

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