On Friday morning, the Labor Department reported that the U.S. economy added 156,000 jobs in September, while the unemployment rate moved up slightly to 5 percent.
This jobs report might be a minor disappointment—economists surveyed by the Wall Street Journal expected 170,000 jobs added—but there was plenty of good news in the details. For one thing, an uptick in the unemployment rate, paired with a rise in the labor-participation rate, is likely a sign that more Americans who dropped out of the workforce during the recession are returning to the job market.
The summer of 2016 yielded two expectations-smashing jobs reports, with June and July each posting over 250,000 jobs added. The August jobs report showed a slight easing up of that momentum, but September’s report includes revisions of the summer months’, with July down from 275,000 to 252,000 and August up from 151,000 to 167,000. This month’s revisions bring the three-month average to a stellar 192,000 jobs added per month.
Another bright spot in September’s report was the increase in wages for American workers: Average hourly earnings rose by six cents, to $25.79, following a three-cent increase in August and a eight-cent increase in July. In the past year, average hourly earnings have risen by 2.6 percent. Many analysts see this as a sign that the labor market is close to full health, and that the tightening of the labor market means that employers will have to offer higher wages in order to compete for workers.