The Boston Herald – New unemployment numbers point to slow but steady growth in jobs

October 2, 2013 | Jordan Graham | The Boston Herald (BizSmart)

New unemployment numbers released today point to a slow but steady growth in the number of jobs, experts said.

Payroll company ADP said private employers added 166,000 jobs in September, lower than the 180,000 jobs economists had been expecting.

“It’s still slow to moderate growth,” said Alan Clayton Matthews, an economist at Northeastern University. “It’s not an estimate of something spectacular, nor is it an estimate of the economy slowing.”

Scott Brown, chief economist for Raymond James & Associates in Florida, said, “The labor market is not weak but not as strong as we’d like.”

Employment and economic growth as a whole has slowed in the last six months, Matthews said, thanks to sequestration and a 2 percent payroll tax increase at the beginning of the year.

“We’re beginning to feel the impacts of the spending cuts,” Matthews said.

He said that will continue to affect growth until the fourth quarter of this year, when the spending cuts will be absorbed by the economy —assuming nothing catastrophic happens with either the budget or debt ceiling fights in Washington, D.C.

Usually an appetizer to the Labor Department’s monthly unemployment figures, the ADP report could be the sole employment indicator for September because the Labor Department will not release its numbers Friday as scheduled if the government shutdown continues until then.

Employers added just 159,000 jobs in August and 161,000 in July, according to ADP, but both of those figures were slightly lower than the original projections, as well.

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