The U. S added 142,000 jobs in September. The unemployment rate stayed at 5.1%. The question remains how strong is the job market. Do all of the unemployed want jobs and are they continuing to search for a
job? A historically high number of people who have been laid off in recent years failed to return to the work force and have stopped looking. This keeps the unemployment rate artificially low. A good indicator of job strength is the % of prime age Americans working. This group is defined as prime age Americans – those 25 through 54- who have jobs. The percentage prior to the recession was 80%. It is now 77.2% and still short of where it was 7 years ago. There is still room for improving on the jobs front.