The US economy created fewer jobs than expected in September, a development some economists see as another sign that the recovery from the recession may slow in the spring.
The Department of Labor reported Friday that the workforce rose 661,000, below the 800,000 estimate that economists polled by Dow Jones had expected. The unemployment rate fell to 7.9%.
CNBC examined the net changes by industry for September jobs based on the data in the Employment Report.
Leisure and hospitality continued to see strong numbers after being mistreated as Covid-19 earlier this year, and efforts to contain its spread frozen travel plans and closed restaurants across the country.
The sector, which created 318,000 jobs last month, saw about 60% of that growth in restaurants and bars that were hiring at the end of the third quarter.
Despite a total of 3.8 million jobs growth over the past five months, food and drink employment has still declined 2.3 million since February as the economic scars from coronavirus continue to hurt recovery.
And while much of the uptrend in September came from the food service industry, a sharp drop in government employment kept profits in check. Government employment fell by 216,000 federal, state and local levels.
Although government attitudes have been troubled in recent months thanks to the federal hiring for the 2020 census, the loss of public sector jobs in September was due to state and local education.
CNBC reached out to the Department of Labor to clarify the layoffs at the local level. Katelynn Harris, an economist with the Bureau of Labor Statistics, made the following statement:
"Government education employment (at the state and local levels) can range from teachers and administrators to janitors and cafeteria workers. Anyone paid by the government," she wrote. "However, CES does not distinguish between the types of workers within the institutions."
"The decline is not related to the census, which has gone down by 41,000," she added.
The formation of the state government and local government lost 49,000 jobs and 134,000 jobs, respectively. These losses reflect layoffs in public universities at the state level and layoffs in elementary, middle and high schools at the local level.
"There were huge losses in the public sector in September, not only because of the decline in temporary workers, but especially because of losses in local K-12 education," wrote Elise Gould, senior economist at the Economic Policy Institute. "Employment in the education sector suffered even before the current economic crisis. The school systems need more, not fewer, resources in these challenging times."
Retail was a brighter place in September with a net gain of 142,400 jobs. Much of these profits were made through hiring in clothing stores (39,800) and general merchandise such as departments, supercenters, and wholesale clubs (19,500).
"Employment growth has slowed in recent months as incentives have waned and COVID-19 cases rise, adding to the case for more fiscal stimulus," Jeff Buchbinder, equity strategist at LPL Financial, said in an email sent statement.
"It will be very interesting to see the impact President Trump's COVID-19 diagnosis has on these negotiations, the pace of reopening and job recovery," he added.
Professional and business services that span a wide variety of professionals, from engineers and architects to consultants and lawyers, have created 89,000 jobs. Architects and engineers have created around 13,000 jobs while computer systems designers have gained 11,700.
"These improvements in the labor market reflect the continued resumption of economic activity, which has been curbed due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and efforts to contain it," the government said in a press release.
"September saw notable increases in employment in leisure and hospitality, retail, health and welfare, and professional and business services," added the Labor Department. "Government employment declined during the month, mainly in state and local education."
– CNBC's Nate Rattner contributed to the coverage.