Quality of jobs improves in weak month of hiring

A number of higher-paying industries added jobs in September, led by construction, governments

Associated Press

Few would argue that September's job totals were impressive. But there was at least one positive takeaway from the mostly disappointing figures: Many of the jobs that were created are in higher-paying fields.

Construction payrolls increased by 20,000 last month, the biggest gain for the industry since February. Those firms have added an average of 16,000 jobs a month over the past 12 months.

It was also a good month for transportation and warehousing companies: They added 23,400 jobs, the best for the industry since December.

And governments gained 22,000 jobs, led by a burst of hiring at the state level. That marked the second straight five-figure increase for the public sector. A third month is unlikely. The 16-day partial government shutdown is expected to weigh heavily on October government payrolls.

September was a tough month for leisure and hospitality employees, some of the nation's lowest-paid workers. Hotels and restaurants cut 13,000 jobs last month. And those businesses have added a total of just 5,000 jobs from June through September. Still, hotels and restaurants have created 359,000 jobs over the past year.

Here's a look at the jobs added or lost in each major industry category:

Industry September August Past 12 months
Construction 20,000 2,000 193,000
Manufacturing 2,000 13,000 38,000
Retail 20,800 31,900 367,300
Transportation, warehousing 23,400 6,300 56,400
Information (Telecom, publishing) 4,000 -17,000 17,000
Financial services -2,000 -3,000 94,000
Professional services (Accounting, temp work) 32,000 30,000 641,000
Education and health 14,000 61,000 348,000
Hotels, restaurants, entertainment -13,000 21,000 359,000
Government 22,000 32,000 -65,000
Source: Labor Department

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