BLS Jobs Report: 271,000 Jobs Added, Unemployment at 5 Percent

The Employment Situation Summary for October far surpassed economists’ predictions, showing the addition of 271,000 jobs to public and private payrolls. Prior to this morning’s release from the labor department, economists polled by Reuters forecasted gains of 180,000 jobs. The unemployment rate was “essentially unchanged” at 5 percent.


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“At this level, the unemployment rate is close to what would normally be considered the threshold for full employment by the Fed and many private economists,” writes Nelson D. Schwartz at The New York Times. “However, the so-called slack that built up in the labor market after the recession has altered traditional calculations of how far unemployment can fall before the job market tightens and the risk of inflation rises.”

Although the unemployment rate declined from 5.1 percent to 5.0 last month, the number of unemployed remained the same at 7.9 million. In addition, the number of long-term unemployed, those who hadn’t worked for 27 weeks or more, was also unchanged at 2.1 million, and has held steady since June. The labor force participation rate stayed at 62.4 percent, after declining 0.2 percentage points the previous month.

Wages rose last month. Average hourly earnings increased by 9 cents to $25.20, and have increased by 2.5 percent for the year so far. The PayScale Index, which measures the change in earnings for all employed U.S. workers, forecasts a 0.6 percent increase in pay for Q4 2015.

The following industries added jobs last month:

  • Professional and business services (+78,000)
  • Healthcare (+45,000)
  • Retail trade employment (+44,000)
  • Food services and drinking places (+42,000)
  • Construction (+31,000)

Mining continued its decline last month, shedding 5,000 jobs. Other industries, including manufacturing, wholesale trade, transportation and warehousing, financial activities, information, and government, were essentially unchanged.

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