Friday, November 2, 2018

October's Jobs Report

October was another strong month for the job market, with the American economy adding 250,000 new jobs. That follows an average monthly gain of 211,000 over the prior 12 months. The unemployment rate stayed at 3.7 percent, the lowest since December 1969,  even though there was a slight rise in the labor force participation rate to 62.9 percent.

The biggest story may be wage growth, which has been the missing piece of the economic recovery. Average hourly earnings increased by 5 cents an hour for the month and 83 cents year over year, representing a 3.1 percent gain. The annual increase in wages was the strongest since 2009.

The big month for job gains comes off a disappointing September that may have been weighed down by the violent hurricanes in the Carolinas. That month's reading fell further, from an initially reported 134,000 to 118,000. However, that decline was  offset by an upward revision to August's numbers, from an already strong 270,000 to 286,000.

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