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261K Jobs Created in October

November 3, 2017

Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 261,000 in October, and the unemployment rate edged down to 4.1 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Employment in food services and drinking places increased sharply, mostly offsetting a decline in September that largely reflected the impact of Hurricanes Irma and Harvey. In October, job gains also occurred in professional and business services, manufacturing, and health care.

However, total nonfarm payroll employment was expected to come in at 310,000.

Household Survey Data

The unemployment rate edged down by 0.1 percentage point to 4.1 percent in October, and the number of unemployed persons decreased by 281,000 to 6.5 million. Since January, the unemployment rate has declined by 0.7 percentage point, and the number of unemployed persons has decreased by 1.1 million.

Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult women (3.6 percent) and Whites (3.5 percent) declined in October. The jobless rates for adult men (3.8 percent), teenagers (13.7 percent), Blacks (7.5 percent), Asians (3.1 percent), and Hispanics (4.8 percent) showed little change.

In October, the number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) was little changed at 1.6 million and accounted for 24.8 percent of the unemployed.

The labor force participation rate decreased by 0.4 percentage point to 62.7 percent in October but has shown little movement on net over the past 12 months. The employment- population ratio declined by 0.2 percentage point over the month to 60.2 percent, after increasing by 0.3 percentage point in September. The employment-population ratio is up by 0.5 percentage point over the year.

The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons (sometimes referred to as involuntary part-time workers) declined by 369,000 to 4.8 million in 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 full-time jobs. Over the past 12 months, the number of involuntary part-time workers has decreased by 1.1 million.

In October, 1.5 million persons were marginally attached to the labor force, little changed from a year earlier. (The data are not seasonally adjusted.) These individuals were not in the labor force, wanted and were available for work, and had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months. They were not counted as unemployed because they had not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey.

Among the marginally attached, there were 524,000 discouraged workers in October, essentially unchanged from a year earlier. (The data are not seasonally adjusted.) Discouraged workers are persons not currently looking for work because they believe no jobs are available for them. The remaining 1.0 million persons marginally attached
to the labor force in October had not searched for work for reasons such as school attendance or family responsibilities.

Establishment Survey Data

Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 261,000 in October, after changing little in September (+18,000). Employment in food services and drinking places increased sharply over the month, mostly offsetting a decline in September that largely reflected the impact of Hurricanes Irma and Harvey. In October, employment also increased in professional and business services, manufacturing, and health care.

Employment in food services and drinking places rose sharply in October (+89,000), following a decrease of 98,000 in September when many workers were off payrolls due to the hurricanes.

Professional and business services added 50,000 jobs in October, about in line with its average monthly gain over the prior 12 months.

Manufacturing employment rose by 24,000 in October, with job gains in computer and electronic products (+5,000) and chemicals (+4,000). Employment in fabricated metals continued to trend up (+4,000). Manufacturing has added 156,000 jobs since a recent employment low in November 2016.

Health care added 22,000 jobs in October. Employment in ambulatory health care services continued to trend up over the month (+16,000). Health care has added an average of 24,000 jobs per month thus far in 2017, compared with an average gain of 32,000 per month in 2016.

Employment in other major industries, including mining, construction, wholesale trade, retail trade, transportation and warehousing, information, financial activities, and government, changed little in October.

The average workweek for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls was unchanged at 34.4 hours in October. In manufacturing, the workweek increased by 0.2 hour to 41.0 hours, and overtime edged up by 0.1 hour to 3.5 hours. The average workweek for production and nonsupervisory employees on private nonfarm payrolls edged up by
0.1 hour to 33.7 hours. (See tables B-2 and B-7.)

Average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls, at $26.53, were little changed in October (-1 cent), after rising by 12 cents in September. Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings have increased by 63 cents, or 2.4 percent. In October, average hourly earnings of private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees, at $22.22, were little changed (-1 cent).

The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for August was revised up from +169,000 to +208,000, and the change for September was revised up from -33,000 to +18,000. With these revisions, employment was 90,000 higher than previously reported. (Monthly revisions result from additional reports received from businesses and government agencies since the last published estimates and from the recalculation of seasonal factors.) After revisions, job gains have averaged 162,000 over the last 3 months.

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