The U.S. economy added 211,000 jobs in October, following on the 298,000 jobs added last month. The unemployment rate remained at 5 percent according to the official jobs report released Friday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Job totals for September were revised upward from 137,000 to 145,000, and October numbers were revised from 271,000 298,000. These revisions mean there were 35,000 more jobs than previously reported. Over the past 3 months, job gains have averaged 218,000 per month.
In addition, average wages also increased in October by 4 cents an hour to $25.25. This follows a 9 cent gain in October. Hourly wages have gone up 2.3 percent over the year. The jobs report and increasing wages make it more likely that the Federal Reserve will increase interest rates at its meeting December 15. Speculation over the rate increase caused the Dow to fall Thursday. Today’s report only increases the speculation.
Thursday, Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen told Congress that even less-than-torrid job growth would slow an economy with ample room to accommodate new workers. “To simply provide jobs for those who are newly entering the labor force probably requires under 100,000 jobs per month,” Yellen told the Joint Economic Committee.
The number of unemployed persons remained at 7.9 million, essentially unchanged. Over the past 12 months, the number of unemployed persons is down by 1.1 million or 0.8 percent. Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult men is 4.7 percent, adult women 4.6 percent, teenagers 15.7 percent, whites 4.3 percent, blacks 9.4 percent, Asians 3.9 percent, and Hispanics (6.4 percent. So, the recovery has not been equal across the population.
The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) was little changed at 2.1 million in November or 25.7 percent of the unemployed. It has shown little movement since June. The civilian labor force participation rate, at 62.5 percent, changed little in November. The employment-population ratio was unchanged at 59.3 percent and has shown little movement since October 2014.
The number of involuntary part-time workers increased by 319,000 to 6.1 million in November, following declines in September and October. These individuals, who would have preferred full-time employment, were working part time because their hours had been cut back or because they were unable to find a full-time job. Over the past 12 months, the number of persons employed part time for economic reasons is down by 765,000, however.
Most of the new jobs were in the private sector, but all sectors of the government added 14,000 jobs in October. The federal government added 6,000 jobs, half in the Postal Service. State governments increased employment by 3,000 and local governments added 5,000 workers.
One of the largest increases occurred in construction which added 46,000 jobs. Over half of those came occurring in residential contractors which hired an additional 26,000. Over the past year, construction employment has grown by 259,000.
In November, professional and technical services added 28,000 jobs in October. Over the year, professional and technical services have added 298,000 jobs. Health care employment increased by 24,000 over the month, following a large gain in October adding 51,000. In November, hospitals added 13,000 jobs. Health care employment has grown by 470,000 over the year due to the fact more people are seeking care as a result of Obamacare.
Employment in food services and drinking places continued to trend up in November adding 32,000 jobs, and has risen by 374,000 over the year. Employment in retail continued to trend up in November by 31,000 new jobs. It has increased by 284,000 over the year. In November, job gains occurred in general merchandise stores up 12,000 and motor vehicle and parts dealers up 9,000). Over the past 12 months, these industries have added 85,000 jobs and 71,000 jobs, respectively.
Employment in mining continued to decline in November cutting 11,000. Since a recent peak in December 2014, employment in mining has declined by 123,000. This is due to low global oil prices which have resulted in a slowdown in new fracking wells.
The information sector lost 12,000 jobs over the month. Within the industry, employment in motion pictures and sound recording decreased by 13,000 in November but has shown little net change over the year. Other industries remained unchanged as well.
Now, all eyes will be on the Federal Reserve to see if interest rates do increase.