The Bureau of Labor Statistics released the official October jobs report Friday. There were 171,000 jobs created in October beating the 125,000 experts predicted. The BLS said that the unemployment rate and the number of unemployed remained unchanged but they said the unemployment rate ticked up a tenth of a percent to 7.9%
The 171,000 jobs would be closer to 200,000 for the month if it were not for losses in the public sector. The federal government cut 13,000 jobs in October including 6,100 postal workers. State governments cut an additional 7,000 workers. Local governments cut 2,900 teachers offsetting 2,800 workers in non-educational services added last month. These are cuts that would not have happened had Congress acted on the president’s jobs bills, or the postal reform legislation.
The civilian labor force actually rose by 578,000 to 155.6 million in October, and the labor force participation rate edged up to 63.8 percent. Total employment rose by 410,000 over the month. In October, the number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) was little changed at 5.0 million.
The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons fell by 269,000 to 8.3 million in October, partially offsetting an increase of 582,000 in September. These individuals were working part time because their hours had been cut back or because they were unable to find a full-time job. This is a good sign because that means employers are increasing jobs not laying off.
The number of discouraged workers declined by 154,000 compared to a year ago. There were 813,000 discouraged workers in October. Discouraged workers are persons not currently looking for work because they believe no jobs are available for them. An additional 1.6 million persons in October had not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey for reasons such as school attendance or family responsibilities.
Here is a snap shot from the report:
Professional and business services added 51,000 jobs in October, with gains in services to buildings and dwellings and in computer systems design. Temporary help employment changed little in October. Employment in professional and business services has grown by 1.6 million since its most recent low point in September 2009.
Health care added 31,000 jobs in October. Over the past year, employment in health care has risen by 296,000.
Retail trade added 36,000 jobs in October, with gains in motor vehicles and parts dealers, and in furniture and home furnishings stores. Retail trade has added 82,000 jobs over the past 3 months, with most of the gain occurring in motor vehicles and parts dealers, clothing and accessories stores, and miscellaneous store retailers.
Employment in leisure and hospitality continued to trend up 28,000 over the month. This industry has added 811,000 jobs since a recent low point in January 2010, with most of the gain occurring in food services.
Employment in construction edged up in 17,000 in October. The gain was concentrated in specialty trade contractors.
Manufacturing employment changed little in October. On net, manufacturing employment has shown little change since April.
Mining lost 9,000 jobs in October, with most of the decline occurring in support activities for mining. Since May of this year, employment in mining has decreased by 17,000. This is mainly due to a decreased demand for coal by utilities switching to natural gas to take advantage of low prices.
Employment in other major industries, including wholesale trade, transportation and warehousing, information, financial activities, and government, showed little change over the month.
This report showed more private sector jobs than the ADP Report indicated. In the past, the BLS has shown fewer jobs than ADP, but then issues corrections when all the data is in. ADP is often a leading indicator.
Any time a jobs report beats expectations, it is a good thing. This pace of job growth is not spectacular, but it is greater than population growth. If this can be sustained, the unemployment rate will fall. Meanwhile 171,000 families are happier today.
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