Consensus (Bloomberg) had been for +100,000 (range 0 to 140,000); print was -33,000.
Obviously, the hurricanes distorted the numbers, but consensus estimates should have taken the impact into account. Note that the last two months’ of data have been revised down. There is a slight deceleration in employment growth as a consequence. This is more apparent in Figure 2.
Figure 2: Nonfarm payroll employment, seasonally adjusted, month-on-month growth rates (blue), and 3 month growth rate (red), all annualized, calculated as log differences. Source: BLS via FRED, and author’s calculations.
Some deceleration is to be expected given the economy is at near full-employment. Hence, the question is how much deceleration was due to weather. IHS estimates hurricanes reduced employment by 249,000; that implies an underlying September increase of 216,000! Taken that way, the labor market remains strong.