The U.S. economy lost jobs for the first time in seven years in September, ringing some alarm bells on Wall Street. But with the jobs market still hovering near full employment and the jobless rate hitting its lowest level in more than 16 years, many economists aren’t concerned.
“This is a rip-roaring labor market,” said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s, during Yahoo Finance’s All Markets Summit on Wednesday. “This is as good as it gets.”
Zandi says the risk of a downward jobs trend is limited. September, he says, was just a blip on the radar because of the impact of hurricanes Harvey and Maria, and he’s expecting a “good” October employment report.
“Last month was a bummer, because until then we were experiencing the longest string of jobs gains in economic history,” said Zandi. “My guess is that [September’s decline] will get revised away when all is said and done. We should get a big number [in October].”
While he’s sees many positive signs for the labor market, Zandi isn’t worry free. He warns that there’s one big risk that could derail the solid jobs market—the lack of qualified workers, which he says could be further exacerbated by President Trump’s potential immigration policies. “Business’s number one problem going forward for the foreseeable future is finding qualified people and individuals.”
Julie Sweet, CEO of Accenture North America, echoed Zandi’s concerns during the discussion. “One of the major issues in the minds of CEOs in the US is the lack of talent. There’s a major skills gap,” she said. She said that companies need to take responsibility and re-skill and retrain their own workers.
Seana Smith is a reporter at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter.