Every sitting president gets a sneak peek at U.S. job numbers the day before the official report is released. It’s just a perk of the job. So when Donald Trump started tweeting yesterday about how impressed he was with the stock market, he seemed to be sending a subtle signal: the job numbers probably weren’t great.
As it turns out, they were worse than anyone expected. While projections showed the U.S. economy adding about 80,000 jobs in September, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported this morning that the economy actually lost 33,000 jobs in September.
It’s important to emphasize that these totals were heavily affected by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, which depressed hiring. That said, the new job numbers still fell short of low expectations. What’s more, the combined job totals from July and August were revised down, and that can’t be attributed to hurricanes.
This is the first time the U.S. economy has lost jobs since September 2010 – seven years ago. It interrupts the longest streak on record of consecutive months in which the economy added jobs.
Providing some additional context, the U.S. added 2.14 million over the first nine months of 2014, 1.89 million over the first nine months of 2015, 1.79 million over the first nine months of 2016, and 1.33 million over the first nine months of 2017.
Above you’ll find the chart I run every month, showing monthly changes in total jobs since the start of the Great Recession. The image makes a distinction: red columns point to monthly changes under the Bush and Trump administrations, while blue columns point to monthly job changes under the Obama administration.
Update: Here’s another chart, this one showing monthly job losses/gains in just the private sector since the start of the Great Recession.