Now We See How Weak the Pre-Shutdown Economy Was

The September employment report released on Tuesday was bad enough to make one wonder if the Obama administration knew what was in it on September 30, when the 17 percent government shutdown began, and decided to hold it.

The report's original release date, based on the results of data gathered during the payroll week containing the 12th of the month, was supposed to be just two days later. It is thus reasonable to believe that the government's Bureau of Labor Statistics already knew what the key numbers were and was only adding finishing touches.

We'll never know whether Team Obama would have told BLS to release the report if the topline jobs added number had been a good one, because it wasn't.

September's report shows that the economy was already slowing down considerably before the partial shutdown commenced. Employers added only 148,000 jobs in September, down from 193,000 in August. The BLS's Household Survey showed only 133,000 jobs added. Sure, the unemployment rate dropped to a seasonally adjusted 7.2 percent, but that's only because a paltry 73,000 adults joined the workforce following a decline of over 300,000 in August.

September's private-sector job growth was only 126,000, down from 161,000 in August. During the third quarter, monthly private job growth averaged only 129,000, down substantially from averages of 190,000 in the second quarter and 212,000 in the first.

The painful trends we've been seeing for months on end in the Obama-Bernanke multi-year Keynesian calamity continued in September. Both the workforce participation rate, at 63.2 percent, and the employment-population ratio, at 58.6 percent, remain at multi-decade lows.

Temporary help services added another 20,200 jobs on top of an upwardly revised 21,200 in August. Since January 2009, the month Barack Obama took office, the economy has added 2.659 million seasonally adjusted jobs. And 785,000, or 30 percent of them, have gone to temps, a segment comprising barely two percent of the workforce.

So desperate was the press to find something positive to say about Tuesday's report that they tried to claim that changes in full-time and part-time employment during the month "prove" that Obamacare, particularly its 30 hours per week definition of a full-time employee requiring coverage in employers' existing healthcare plans, isn't causing a permanent shift in the balance between the two.