Job Growth Rebounds in October As Unemployment Rate Drops Further

JOB GROWTH: October job growth of 261,000 reflects the highest monthly growth in a year, although it comes on the heels of what was initially reported as a loss last month—credited to hurricane activity—of 33,000, since restated to a small gain of 18,000 jobs.

TOP INDUSTRIES: Reversing September’s significant storm hit in leisure and hospitality, employment in the sector surged in October. Solid gains were also recorded in professional and business services, manufacturing and healthcare.

UNEMPLOYMENT: The unemployment rate dipped further in October, again hitting its lowest level since 2000, coming in at 4.1 percent.

WAGES: There was little movement in payrolls in October, although the average hourly earnings rate moved down slightly to 2.4 percent.

WORK WEEK: The average work week has remained the same for three months at 34.4 hours.

TEMPORARY JOB TRENDS: Growth was strong in the temporary help sector in October when 18,300 jobs were added. Triple September’s growth, the latest gain bumps up the number of temporary help services jobs to 3,075,100.

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN? If slow and steady wins the race, the jobs market is definitely on a winning streak with 85 straight months of job growth. Despite this positive economic momentum, the pace of forward movement is moderate at best, with lack of wage growth continuing to dampen optimism. As the labor supply continues to tighten, employers face challenges on two fronts: current workers cycle out of the organization in search of higher pay and new employees demand higher starting salaries. These additional hurdles make it even harder to attract and retain talent.

Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Steinberg Employment Research, CNBC, Business Insider, The Wall Street Journal, Money/CNN, The New York Times, PBS.