The last jobs report from the Labor Department before the U.S. presidential election was a solid one, showing the addition of 161,000 jobs to non-farm payrolls and an unemployment rate ticking down to 4.9 percent.
While the jobs tally was lower than the 173,000 jobs forecasted by economists, average hourly earnings climbed 10 cents to $25.92, after an 8-cent an hour increase the previous month. The PayScale Index, which tracks the change in pay for employed U.S. workers, showed year-over-year wage growth of 2.3 percent for Q3 2016.
“This is right down the middle of the fairway,” Vincent Reinhart, chief economist at Standish Mellon, told The New York Times. “The main message is from the payroll report: Jobs are being created and earnings are going up.”
The number of newly jobless declined by 218,000 in October, while the number of long-term unemployed was unchanged at 2 million. The number of people working part-time for economic reasons was unchanged at 5.9 million. Last month, 1.7 million workers were marginally attached to the labor force, down by 216,000 from last year. The labor force participation rate and employment-population ratio were little changed for the month, although both have trended up over the year.
A few industries were responsible for the bulk of job growth last month, including healthcare (+31,000 jobs), professional and business services (+43,000 jobs), and financial activities (+14,000 jobs). Other industries were essentially unchanged for the month, including construction, manufacturing, mining, retail trade, wholesale trade, transportation and warehousing, government, leisure and hospitality, and information.
The job reports for September and August were revised upward by a total of 44,000 jobs. September’s report was revised from +156,000 to +191,000, while August’s report was revised from +167,000 to +176,000. So far, the economy has added an average of 181,000 jobs per month in 2016.
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