The economy added 214,000 jobs last month, according to today’s report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, slightly less than the 230,000 jobs predicted by economists. In addition, the unemployment rate declined 0.1 percent from the previous month.
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Despite slightly weaker than predicted numbers, analysts were largely positive about the report.
“The labor market is showing remarkably solid and consistent gains in jobs,” RDQ Economics said in a statement. Maureen Linke at USA Today notes that job growth has topped 200,000 for nine straight months — the longest stretch since the mid-’90s.
The largest gains were in food services and drinking places (+42,000 jobs), professional and business services (+37,000 jobs), retail trade (+27,000 jobs), and healthcare (+25,000 jobs). In addition, manufacturing gained 15,000 jobs, transportation and warehousing 13,000 jobs, and construction 12,000 jobs. There was little change in mining and logging, wholesale trade, information, financial activities, and government.
All is not rosy, however. While the labor force participation rate stayed steady at 62.8 percent in October, and has been consistent since April, the number of workers employed part-time on an involuntary basis was 7 million, little changed from the previous month.
Compared to numbers from the same month last year, workers marginally attached to the labor force or among the long-term unemployed are unchanged — 2.2 million and 770,000, respectively.
Wages are also stagnant. Average wages grew only 3 cents per hour last month, to $24.57.
“That’s just 2 percent above the average wage 12 months earlier and barely ahead of a 1.7 percent inflation rate,” writes Christopher S. Rugaber at the AP.
The PayScale Index, which tracks and forecasts changes in wages for American workers, predicts a wage increase of just 0.3 percent for the fourth quarter of 2014. Meanwhile, The Real Wage Index, which shows workers’ earnings relative to inflation, shows that the buying power of what workers earn is 8.7 percent lower than it was in 2006.
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