386,000 more jobs: A good omen for September report?

It appears America's jobs market is on the mend. Jobless claims have hit a three-year-low. Jim Axelrod reports on what's behind the good news and what it means moving forward.

(MoneyWatch) Good news: Before the September employment report is released, the government has found 386,000 additional jobs! The Bureau of Labor Statistics made its preliminary annual benchmark revision as of March 2012 (the final tally will be released next February) and determined that an additional 453,000 private jobs were added in the U.S. economy, but there were 67,000 fewer government jobs added. For the 12 months between March 2011 and March 2012, the economy added 2.4 million jobs, or an average of 200,000 per month.

Conspiracy theorists can relax: The 0.3 percent variation is the average variance over the last 10 years. Since the jobs market has been pretty pokey during this recovery, we'll take every tenth of a percent and hope that future revisions to this year's job creation will be similarly nudged higher.

Analysts expect that 115,000 jobs were created in September and the unemployment rate should remain at 8.1 percent. With the economy growing by only 1.5 percent annually, it's hard to see how companies will take the risk of adding more employees. Perhaps the best news may be that state and local governments should stop cutting workers, which will stop and the drag on total job creation. In 2009, state and local governments lost 129,000 jobs; in 2010, it was 262,000 and in 2011, 280,000.

Don't bring up the punk jobs situation when talking to investors, though. The third quarter saw smart gains and September, usually the worst month for stocks, defied history and advanced.

-- DJIA: 13,437, down 1% on week, up 2.6% on month, up 4.3% on quarter, up 10% on year

-- S&P 500: 1,440, down 1.3% on week, up 2.4% on month, up 5.7% on quarter, up 14.5% on year

-- NASDAQ: 3,116, down 2% on week, up 1.6% on month, up 6.1% on quarter, up 19.6% on year

-- October Crude Oil: $92.10

-- December Gold: $1,774.40

-- AAA National Average Price for Gallon of Regular Gas: $3.79

THE WEEK AHEAD:

Mon 10/01:

10:00 ISM Manufacturing

10:00 Construction Spending

Tues 10/02:

September Auto Sales

Weds 10/03:

7:00 MBA mortgage purchase applications index

8:15 ADP Private sector jobs

10:00 ISM Non-Manufacturing

Thurs 10/04:

Chain Store Sales

8:30 Weekly jobless claims

7:30 Challenger, Gray & Christmas job cuts

10:00 Factory Orders

2:00 FOMC Minutes

Fri 10/05:

8:30 September Jobs Report

3:00 Consumer Credit

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    Jill Schlesinger, CFP®, is the Editor-at-Large for CBS MoneyWatch. She covers the economy, markets, investing or anything else with a dollar sign. Prior to the launch of MoneyWatch in 2009, Jill was the chief investment officer for an independent investment advisory firm. In her infancy, she was an options trader on the Commodities Exchange of New York.

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