Ball State economist says jobs report points to continued slow growth


MUNCIE, Ind. – Ball State economist Michael Hicks said Friday’s jobs report points to points to continued slow growth across the United States.

The nation saw 136,000 new jobs created, along with positive revisions for July and August. Employment in manufacturing declined modestly, perhaps picking up some of the effects of the UAW/GM strikes, said Hicks, director of the Center for Business and Economic Research at Ball State University.

The jobless rate in September dropped 0.2 percentage points to 3.5 percent, the lowest since December 1969. The report from the U.S. Labor department also had revisions from earlier this summer. August jumped from an initial estimate of 130,000 to 168,000 while July rose from 159,000 to 166,000 for a net gain of 45,000.

Wages rose just 2.9 percent for the year, the lowest increase since July 2018, the report said.

“The average weekly hours remain effectively unchanged, but annualized wage growth declined to 2 percent, representing a slowdown from the better than inflation rate of growth the economy has enjoyed over the past year,” he said. “This jobs report indicates the slowing manufacturing economy in the Midwest has slowed but not stopped growth across the nation.”