American employers added 148,000 jobs in September and the U.S. jobless rate ticked down to 7.2 percent from 7.3 percent the previous month, according to the last jobs report released on Tuesday.
Weak figures that may even be too optimistic. Indeed, they are based on data collected before the shutdown even started, therefore it doesn’t reflect the recent furloughs.
“This is the last clean jobs report for the year. October numbers will be dragged down by shutdown; November by the snap back,” Politico Chief Economic Correspondent Ben White commented on Twitter on Tuesday morning.
Several businesses reports quoted by the Wall Street Journal pointed out that executives were lowering hiring expectations as early as September forecasting the political battle in Washington.
The poor jobs figures mean we are not likely to see any changes on the Fed’s $85 billion bond-buying program soon. At least not at the central banks’ Oct. 29-30 meeting. It is still unclear when the tapering will begin. Most economists and traders believe it will take place before the end of the year, yet some of them push their expectations down to March.
Meanwhile Americans’ confidence in the economy improved slightly last week as Washington lawmakers reached a deal to end the federal shutdown and avoid default. Gallup’s Economic Confidence Index was -36 last week, up from -39 the week before.