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Job growth beats expectations (again), jobless rate falls to 3.5%

With a few months left in 2022, the economy has already created 3.7 million jobs this year, and that’s after just nine months.


Expectations heading into this morning showed projections of about 250,000 new jobs added in the United States in September. As it turns out, according to the new report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the preliminary tally suggests the domestic job market did a little better than that. The New York Times reported this morning:

The labor market remained strong in September, showing its resilience. But the persistent strength in hiring also underscored the challenges facing the Federal Reserve as it tries to curtail job growth enough to tame inflation. Employers added 263,000 jobs last month on a seasonally adjusted basis, the Labor Department said Friday. That was down from 315,000 in August. The unemployment rate fell to 3.5 percent.

Though the unemployment rate isn’t my favorite metric, it’s worth noting for context that in January 2021, when President Joe Biden was inaugurated, the unemployment rate was 6.4%. Now, it’s returned to 3.5% — a level the United States did not reach at any point throughout the 1970s, 1980s, or 1990s.

With a few months left in 2022, the economy has also already created 3.7 million jobs this year, and that’s after just nine months. By any fair measure, that’s an extraordinary total, more in line with what we’d expect to see in a full year.

As for the politics, let’s circle back to previous coverage to put the data in perspective. Over the course of the first three years of Donald Trump’s term — when the then-president said the United States’ economy was the greatest in the history of the planet — the economy created roughly 6.4 million jobs. This included all of 2017, 2018 and 2019.

According to the latest tally, the U.S. economy has created 10.5 million jobs since January 2021 — far in excess of the combined total of Trump’s first three years. In fact, this year’s total to date exceeds any individual year of the former president’s term.

In recent months, Republicans have responded to developments like these by pretending not to notice them. I have a hunch GOP officials will keep the trend going today.

Postscript: For some additional context, consider job growth by year over the past decade:

2013: 2.3 million

2014: 3 million

2015: 2.7 million

2016: 2.3 million

2017: 2.1 million

2018: 2.3 million

2019: 2 million

2020: -9.3 million

2021: 6.7 million

2022 (so far): 3.7 million

In early 2020, such a turnaround would’ve been very difficult to believe. And yet, here we are.