Job market sending mixed signals in the U.S.

A "now hiring" sign is posted on a table during a career fair at AT&T Park in San Francisco, Calif.

Steve Chiotakis: Two reports are out today on the labor market, and they show very different things. First, payroll firm ADP said private employers added 91,000 jobs in September -- more than expected.

Meanwhile, another report shows planned layoffs last month reached a two year high, according to employment consultants Challenger, Gray & Christmas. The firm says cuts in military ranks and layoffs at Bank of America accounted for most of the more than 115,000 planned cuts.

John Challenger is with us live now from Chicago to talk about today's reports. John, good morning.

John Challenger: Good morning, Steve.

Chiotakis: Most planned cuts in more than 2 years -- you surprised about that?

Challenger: Well, I'm shocked, maybe not surprised. We know the economy is not going at much of a pace and that means there's just very little job creation. People are losing their jobs as companies cut back as we get into the fourth quarter.

Chiotakis: I want to talk about these ADP numbers that came out just moments ago -- 91,000 jobs created. Sounds like good news, what does this say about job creation in this country?

Challenger: Well, it's good news in that it's not negative. We say saw zero jobs created last month, so positive is certainly room for some hope. But it's not going to drive unemployment down -- we need to about 150,000 jobs created each month to do that.

Chiotakis: In the private sector?

Challenger: Yes.

Chiotakis: Your report mentions Bank of America, of course, which is in the private sector -- they announced job cuts. But big cuts in government jobs, like the military -- where's that coming from?

Challenger: Well this is my biggest concern right now. We're seeing major cuts coming out of the military as soldiers come back from overseas, that's only going to continue. This is just the Army, we've got other branches to come.

Unemployment for vets in Afghanistan and Iraq wars right now is at 16.6 percent, way higher than the 9.1 percent national average, and now we've got a flood of new vets coming back into the job market.

Chiotakis: A flood of new vets. And what kind of challenges are they facing as they come back, John?

Challenger: It's very difficult in terms of how do you translate the skills you've gained in the military into the private sector? A lot of times there's not a direct connection, they may need retraining.

Certainly they're leaders, they're much more mature at a young age from what they've faced than others. But to find a way into the job market, not having been there, can be very difficult. That doesn't count some of the emotional issues you get when come back from a fighting a war.

Chiotakis: John Challenger from Challenger, Gray & Christmas. John, thanks.

Challenger: Thank you.

Comments

I agree to American Public Media's Terms and Conditions.
With Generous Support From...