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161,000 Jobs Created in October, Unemployment at 4.9%, Earnings Up at Fastest Pace Since 2008

| November 4, 2016

october unemployment us

Click on the graph for larger view. (© FlaglerLive)

The noise level on the campaign trail has made it hard to hear, but the national economy has been producing healthy numbers. Last Friday the Bureau of Economic Analysis announced the economy grew at an annual rate of 2.9 percent in the third quarter, deflating claims on the trail by Donald Trump that the economy was sputtering.

Today, the Labor Department announced that 44,00 more jobs than previously calculated were created in August and September, bringing those two months’ total to 367,000 jobs, and that 161,000 jobs were created in October, a figure also likely to be revised upward, bringing the year’s total job creation to 1.8 million, a healthy average of 180,000 a month, with the unemployment rate near its second-lowest point in 35 years.

Better yet for workers at large: average hourly earnings rose 10 cents, to $25.92, after an 8-cent increase in September, solid gains that have shaken earnings out of their lethargy and netted a year-over-year earnings increase of 2.8 percent, the best showing since the Great Recession in 2008.

There were positive signs deep inside the jobs report, too. The official unemployment rate may be at 4.9 percent. But the so-called U-6, or alternative, rate more reflective of unemployment and underemployment, which takes into account discouraged workers who have dropped out of the labor force, as well as part-time workers who could not find full-time work, or whose hours were cut back, has also improved markedly, dropping two decimal points to 9.5 percent.

While all these numbers point to improvements, they nevertheless rest on a few caveats, among them the fact that the bulk of job growth has been in the lesser-paying service sector, not in high-paying manufacturing. In fact in October employment in mining, construction, manufacturing, transportation and warehousing, information, leisure and hospitality, and government, showed little growth, with professional and business services showing the strongest growth and health care continuing to add jobs, as it has every month in the recovery.

The jobs report would not necessarily have been brighter had it not been for Hurricane Matthew, which affected a significant portion of the eastern seaboard, including Florida. “In order for severe weather conditions to reduce employment estimates,” the Labor Department states, “employees have to be off work without pay for the entire pay period. Employees who receive pay for any part of the pay period, even 1 hour, are counted in the payroll employment figures.”

Overall, there were 7.8 million unemployed Americans, and 5.9 million working part-time for economic reasons–that is, involuntarily so, as they would prefer to work full-time. The unemployment rate for Hispanics declined to 5.7 percent. It was 4.6 percent for adult men, 4.3 percent for adult women, 15.6 percent for teens, 4.3 percent for whites, 8.6 percent for blacks, and 3.4 percent for Asians.

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8 Responses for “161,000 Jobs Created in October, Unemployment at 4.9%, Earnings Up at Fastest Pace Since 2008”

  1. [fake] PalmCoaster says:

    Headline looks good but when you review the internals, not a good report. Number of Americans no longer in the workforce 94,000,000. Part time and seasonal jobs up, full time jobs severely declined due to ACA employment limits. Not sure how your usual deeper dive into government reports did not take place on this final BLS report before election day. Seems odd don’t you think?

    • FlaglerLive says:

      Fake PalmCoaster, your claims are somewhat inaccurate. The number of part-time workers fell to its lowest level since July 2008, when the Great Recession was shedding millions of jobs. That figure has been falling steadily, in concert with job creation. The declining numbers show the ACA had nothing to do with it. The workforce number you quote looks impressive but dissimulates the fact that on one hand baby boomers have been retiring in droves and on the other the 160 million in the workforce today are a record, admittedly after the numbers stagnated for four and a half years after the recession. But the rise has been steady since 2012, while the employment-to-population ratio for workers in prime working age hit 78.2 percent, highest since 2008. There’s more, but that’s enough. Of course you can make even a jobs report from 1999 look lousy if you try hard enough, but what’s odd is your attempt to pass yourself off as one of our most frequent and prominent commenter. You are not PalmCoaster (ergo the added “fake” next to your handle), so next time you try to fish for intellectual dishonesty, try hook-lining your own pond first. Thanks.

  2. Veteran says:

    161,000 new jobs at McDonalds. Great. They forgot to count the ??? Millions that quit looking years ago.

  3. The Oracle says:

    I have a bridge for sale in Brooklyn. Sorry guys we are already on to this game. The real unemployment rate is twice this number, and our economic growth is at 1%, when we need 3 or 4 %. Clinton/Obama have no clue on how to grow our economy.

  4. palmcoaster says:

    Thank you FL for the correction regarding the above intended impersonation while I firmly believe your figures are correct.
    The [fake] one seems to forget that POTUS was handed a box of rotten eggs to bake this cake and in spite of it all and the party of NO obstructionism in Congress and Senate he still manage to prevent this Titanic sinking. Now we are afloat but need to prop the engines and steam ahead faster by casting at the ballot box for POTUS, Vice, Congress and Senate!

  5. Fraudisreal says:

    Why isn’t the unemployment % the actual unemployment rate and not “those unemployed and looking for work”. If you have three Part time jobs working 100hrs a week does that equal one high paying 40 hrs a week job. Every thing is awesome !

    Guess you can polish a turd.

  6. NS says:

    Please … anyone that touts a 4.9 unemployment and then in the same breath acknowledges 1% GDP is on a different planet.

    Why are liberals so offended by reality?

    • FlaglerLive says:

      While we regretfully concede that some in your world have an aversion to fact and literacy, the only mention of GDP in this article, in the very first paragraph no less–we respect our short-attention readers–is the muscular 2.9 percent annual rate in the last quarter. Maybe you’d rather cheer your preferred rate to make a point. We do not. Facts are enough for us. Cheers.

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