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Private Sector Employment Increase Offset by Loss of Census Jobs

While the nation’s overall unemployment rate remained unchanged last month, the private sector is beginning to hire, according to a Department of Labor report released today (Oct. 8).

While nonfarm employment edged down by 95,000 in September, the unemployment rate remained at 9.6 percent. Government employment declined by 159,000, reflecting both a drop in the number of temporary jobs for Census 2010 and job losses in local government, according to the report. The private sector showed a slight increase in hiring, adding 64,000 new jobs.

The number of unemployed workers remained at 14.8 million.

The report drew criticism from industry trade groups.

“The disappointing jobs report shows just how much work needs to be done to rev up the economy,” said Scott Paul, executive director of the Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM), a nonprofit, nonpartisan trade group representing American manufacturers.

William C. Dunkelberg, chief economist for the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), a national nonprofit group representing small businesses, said he doesn’t expect small business to begin hiring any time soon.

“Overall, the job creation picture is still bleak,” Dunkelberg said. “Weak sales and uncertainty about the future continue to hold back any commitments to growth, hiring or capital spending. Economic policies enacted or proposed continue to fail to address the most important players in the economy – the consumers.”

The NFIB’s monthly economic survey will be released on Oct. 12. The survey was conducted through Sept. 30 and reflects 849 small business owner respondents.

Preliminary results, released today, show that in September, 13 percent of small employers (up two points from August) increased average employment by 2.6 employees, but 16 percent (up three points) reduced their work forces by an average of 3.6 workers. Job creation has still not crossed the zero line in the small business sector, as the average change in employment per firm was negative 0.26 workers, Dunkelberg said.

“The percent of owners with unfilled (hard to fill) openings remained at 11 percent of all firms, historically a weak showing. Over the next three months, 16 percent plan to reduce employment (up three points), and 8 percent plan to create new jobs (unchanged), yielding a seasonally adjusted net-negative 3 percent of owners planning to create new jobs, four points worse than August. The push to create new jobs (based on economic factors) is clearly missing in the current economy and expectations for future business conditions are not supportive of job creation,” Dunkelberg said in a statement.