Verdict: Improvement. Probably. Maybe.
Taken together, those various and sundry indicators tend to show that September's jobs report – whenever we get it – will show some improvement. That's good news, but a slight uptick in hiring would also likely show more broadly that the job market isn't changing that much at all, says one economist.
"My expectation for the jobs report would have been somewhere between probably 170 thousand [and] 180 thousand, more or less in line with what we have seen in recent months," says Adolfo Laurenti, deputy chief economist at Mesirow Financial in Chicago. "Not enough to suggest any real acceleration in the economy."
Average monthly payroll growth in 2012 was at 183,000, and thus far in 2013 it's slightly lower, at 180,000, according to Labor Department data. That means slight upward tweaks to the monthly payrolls figure are not much to cheer about, unless we get them consistently...something that hasn't happened for a long time.