Applicants wait to meet potential employers at a Manhattan job fair in New York City.
Applicants wait to meet potential employers at a Manhattan job fair in New York City. - 
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[UPDATED 9:28AM EST:] In a report delayed more than two weeks due to the government shutdown, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today that the U.S. economy added 148,000 jobs in September. Economists were expecting approximately 180,000 new jobs in September.  The unemployment rate fell by 0.1 percent to 7.2 percent. The consensus expectation was for unemployment to remain unchanged in September.

The report was originally scheduled for release on Friday, October 4, but was delayed because government statisticians were furloughed. October’s figures will also be released late, on Friday, November 8, due to data-collection delays as the BLS ramps up its work again.

Unemployment fell in September to a five-year low due to an increase in job-holders. That improvement came along with an increase in the civilian labor force. Unemployment has sometimes fallen in previous months due to people dropping out of the workforce and no longer seeking jobs, meaning they’re no longer counted as unemployed.

Job creation was concentrated in retail, professional and business services, temping, and construction, which has been flat for several months. Manufacturing employment was essentially unchanged. Health care employment increased by 7,000 jobs; it has increased on average 19,000 jobs per month throughout 2013, and was increasing at a faster rate -- 27,000 per month -- during 2012. The number of jobs declined in leisure and hospitality.

While the federal government continued to shed jobs in September, state and local government added jobs, especially teachers. That’s as tax revenues stabilize and budgets increase after years of austerity during and after the recession.

The average workweek was unchanged in September. Average hourly earnings were up by $0.03.

And long-term unemployment remains persistently high, with more than one in three (36.9 percent) of the unemployed being out of work for 27 weeks or longer. 

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Follow Mitchell Hartman at @entrepreneurguy