The numbers are in, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported a strong gain of 128,000 jobs, which is 43,000 more jobs than economists predicted. Moreover, the unemployment rate ticked up a tenth of a percent from a 50-year low to 3.6 percent. This small increase in unemployment is due to an even more substantial rise in the U.S. labor force (those Americans who are working and actively seeking employment). Overall, this month’s Jobs Report demonstrates that the economy is healthy and should ease fears of a looming recession.
Let’s take a more in-depth look at the October Jobs Report
October was officially the 109th month in a row of job gains despite a couple of factors. The six-week GM strike reduced employment by 42,000 jobs, according to the BLS. However, the strike is finally over, so we are likely to see a nice bump in November’s report as the striking workers head back to work. Additionally, the number of workers helping prepare for the 2020 census dropped by a whopping 20,000. Thus, if you take both of these numbers into consideration, the number of jobs added theoretically could be 62,000 higher.
Another factor that should boost all our confidence in the economy is the revised job gains over the previous two months. In August, job gains were revised up by 51,000 (219,000 jobs in total), and in September, job gains were revised up by 44,000 (a total of 180,000 jobs). With these revisions, job gains over the last two months equate to 95,000 more jobs than previously reported. After revisions, job gains have averaged an impressive 176,000 over the previous three months. And over the year, job gains have averaged 167,000.
Average earnings for all employees continued to rise with an increase of $0.06, for an average hourly wage of $28.18. Over the last 12 months, hourly wages have increased by 3 percent. The labor force participation rate was also little changed at 63.3 percent. These are both great signs that the labor market remains strong as we get closer to 2020.
Job gains by industry
The food services and drinking places industry added a staggering 48,000 jobs. Over the last three months, this industry has averaged 38,000 job gains.
The professional and business services group ticked up again in October (+22,000). The industry as a whole has averaged 33,000 gains over the year.
In October, employment in social assistance increased by 20,000 jobs and a total of 139,000 over the past year. Family services made up most of these gains, with 17,000 jobs added.
Financial activities rose by 16,000, with the majority of gains from real estate, rental, and leasing (+10,000). Financial activities have added a total of 108,000 jobs over the last 12 months.
Healthcare once again added jobs (+15,000) with total job gains of 402,000 over the last year.
Job declines by industry
Not surprisingly, manufacturing employment fell by 36,000 jobs in October, due to the 6-week strike from GM workers in the motor vehicles and parts realm (-42,000 jobs).
Moreover, employment in the federal government fell by 17,000 jobs in October due to the departure of 20,000 workers finishing up their work prepping for the 2020 Census.
Employment in other major industries–including mining, construction, wholesale trade, retail trade, transportation and warehousing, and information—showed little change over the month.
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