Employers added more jobs than expected last month, according to this morning’s release of the monthly Employment Situation Summary.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported the addition of 250,000 jobs to public and private non-farm payrolls last month. Prior to the release, economists polled by Bloomberg predicted the addition of 200,000 jobs. Unemployment held steady at 3.7 percent — the lowest rate since 1969.
“The underlying fundamentals of the labor market are still really bright, it’s really the strongest part of the broader economy at the moment,” said Michelle Girard, chief United States economist at NatWest Markets, speaking with The New York Times.
Wage growth was another highlight of the report. Average hourly earnings increased by 5 cents to $27.30, bringing year-over-year wage growth to 3.1 percent. That’s the largest increase in nine years, in part because wages dropped in October 2017 due to the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.
Still, Girard tells The Times, “there is an upward trend and evidence in the wage numbers which suggest we’re finally seeing some pickup in wage growth.”
The PayScale Index, which measures the change in wages for employed U.S. workers, showed 0.4 percent year-over-year wage growth for Q3 2018. Real wages, which reflect the value of workers’ pay with inflation taken into account, are worth 9.5 percent less than in 2006.
Where Jobs Are Growing
Several industries added jobs last month, including:
- Leisure and hospitality (+42,000 jobs)
- Health care (+36,000 jobs)
- Professional and business services (+35,000 jobs)
- Manufacturing (+32,000 jobs)
- Construction (+30,000 jobs)
- Transportation and warehousing (+25,000 jobs)
Other industries showed little change for October, including retail trade, wholesale trade, financial activities, information and government.
Last month’s jobs report was revised downward from 134,000 jobs added to 118,000 jobs added. However, August’s report was revised upward, offsetting September’s decrease.
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