America Added 128,000 Jobs in October, Unemployment at 3.6%

Coianne Abant, (L) a member of the United Auto Workers (UAW) Local 598 and supporters picket outside of General Motors Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly in Detroit, Michigan, as they strike on September 22, 2019. - The United Auto Workers union began a nationwide strike against General Motors on September 16, 2019 with …
JEFF KOWALSKY/AFP/Getty Images

Job creation was much stronger than expected in October.

The U.S. economy added 128,000 jobs for the month and the unemployment rate rose to 3.6 percent, higher than the month before but still near a 50-year low.

Economists had expected the economy to add 75,000 jobs, with forecasts ranging between 55,000 and 155,000, according to Econoday. That unusually wide range was caused, in part, by differing views of how the General Motors strike would hit employment at suppliers and related businesses.

Unemployment was expected to tick up to 3.6 percent.

Prior months were revised upward, indicating that the labor market has been much stronger than initial reports suggested. August’s initial 168,000 was revised up to 219,000. September’s soared from 136,000 to 180,000. Those revisions brought the three-month average up to 176,000.

The strength of the labor market was even more impressive because of the drag created by the GM strike and the government shedding workers it hired to conduct the census. The manufacturing sector shed 37,000 jobs in the month, many of which economists expect will be added back now that GM workers are back on the job. The government cut back by 17,000 jobs.

The pace of average hourly earnings rose by one-tenth of a percent to a year-over-year 3 percent gain. The average workweek was unchanged at 34.4 hours.

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