Job Growth Continues in October
Little Change in Unemployment Rate

JOB GROWTH: Nonfarm employment rose by 161,000 in October. Over the past three-month period, job gains have averaged 176,000 per month.

TOP INDUSTRIES: In October, employment continued to trend up in professional and business services, healthcare and finance. There was little movement in most other industries, although mining and manufacturing continue to sustain losses.

UNEMPLOYMENT: There was little change in the unemployment rate. While it had edged up to 5.0 percent in September, October saw it shift down again to 4.9 percent.
WAGES: Average hourly earnings rose by 10 cents in October, bringing the annual average increase to 2.8 percent.

WORK WEEK: The average work week was unchanged at 34.4 hours in October.

TEMPORARY JOB TRENDS: The temporary staffing sector expanded only slightly in October, adding 6,400 jobs.

SO WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN? The October jobs report indicated positive momentum in both jobs and wages, although that momentum was somewhat muted. Job growth was not as strong as it could have been, possibly reflecting an impact from Hurricane Matthew, which kept more people at home than at work. The bigger news in this month’s report was the uptick in salary. While the best boost in average hourly wages (on an annual basis) since the recession ended may not be reflected in every paycheck, it is an indicator that employers are upping their game to attract and retain the employees they need to sustain growth. Overall, the labor market keeps chugging along, making positive progress toward a stronger economy but at a somewhat lackluster pace.

Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Steinberg Employment Research, Bloomberg, CNBC, Business Insider, Staffing Industry Analysts, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, the Conference Board