Winning…Big League! The Economy Created 250,000 Jobs in October, Wages Rise More Than 3% for First Time Since Recession

The Associated Press
The Associated Press

The American job creation machine is sizzling hot.

The U.S. economy added 250,000 jobs in October and the unemployment rate held steady at 3.7 percent, according to Labor Department figures released Friday.

Economists had predicted the economy would add 190,000 jobs and the unemployment rate would to hold steady at 3.7 percent, the lowest level of joblessness in 49-years.

Friday’s data shows that hiring bounced back after an unusually weak September when employers added just 118,000 jobs–the smallest monthly increase in a year.  Over the past 12 months, employers added an average of 211,000 jobs each month.

Wage growth, long considered the ‘missing ingredient’ to the economic expansion, has finally returned. Average hourly earnings climbed by five cents an hour for the month, or 83 cents year-over-year. That represents a 3.1 percent gain, the first time wages have grown more than 3 percent year-over-year.

Job creation was widespread across all sectors of the economy. Manufacturing added 32,000 jobs in the month, with strong gains in durable goods and in particular transportation equipment. That directly defies predictions that the Trump administration’s steel and aluminum tariffs would weigh on manufacturing, especially metals-using industries.

Miners added 5,000 jobs for the month.

Construction was an unexpectedly strong contributor, despite concerns that the housing market has slowed. It added 30,000 jobs.  Transportation and warehousing grew by 42,000.

Health care contributed 36,000 jobs.

Hotels had a boom month, perhaps partly as a bounce-back from hurricane-induced weakness in the prior month. Leisure and hospitality added 42,000 new jobs.

Professional and business services grew by 35,00.

The total number of employed people in the U.S. rose to a new record high of 156.6 million. The labor force participation rate increased by 0.2 percentage point to 62.9 percent in October but has shown little change over the year. The employment-population ratio edged up by 0.2 percentage point to 60.6 percent in October and has increased by 0.4 percentage point over the year, the Labor Department said.

September’s employment number was revised down to 118,000 from a previously reported 134,000. August, however, was revised up from 270,000 to 286,000, indicating that many of the jobs initially counted in September were actually created earlier.


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