US Employers Added 261,000 Jobs at a Steady Pace

According to the government report released on Friday, hiring in the past month was roughly at the same level as it has been for the two or more years since the pandemic recession ended. After reaching a five-decade low of 3.5%, the jobless rate increased to 3.7%.

Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 261,000 in October, and the unemployment rate rose to 3.7 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Notable job gains occurred in health care, professional and technical services, and manufacturing.

The difficulties the Federal Reserve faces are being exacerbated by a robust job market as it rises interest rates at the quickest rate since the 1980s in an effort to lower inflation from close to a 40-year high. Workers have benefited from consistent hiring, strong salary increases, and a low unemployment rate.

Chronic inflation is straining many families’ budgets and has risen to the top of voters’ worries in the upcoming midterm congressional elections, which conclude on Tuesday. In their campaign to take back control of Congress, Republican candidates around the country have targeted Democrats over inflation.

The number of jobs that firms have created since the crisis ended has increased consumers’ capacity to spend even in the face of high inflation. Businesses were also forced to increase wages to recruit and retain employees due to a labor shortage in many sectors of the economy.

The unemployment rate increased by 0.2 percentage point to 3.7 percent in October, and the number of unemployed persons rose by 306,000 to 6.1 million. The unemployment rate has been in a narrow range of 3.5 percent to 3.7 percent since March.

Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult women (3.4 percent) and Whites (3.2 percent) rose in October. The jobless rates for adult men (3.3 percent), teenagers (11.0 percent), Blacks (5.9 percent), Asians (2.9 percent), and Hispanics (4.2 percent) showed little or no change over the month.

Among the unemployed, the number of permanent job losers changed little at 1.2 million in October, and the number of persons on temporary layoff also changed little at 847,000.

The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) was little changed at 1.2 million in October. The long-term unemployed accounted for 19.5 percent of all unemployed persons.

The labor force participation rate, at 62.2 percent, and the employment-population ratio, at 60.0 percent, were about unchanged in October and have shown little net change since early this year. These measures are 1.2 percentage points below their values in February 2020, prior to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons was little changed at 3.7 million in October. These individuals, who would have preferred full-time employment, were working part time because their hours had been reduced or they were unable to find full-time jobs.

The number of persons not in the labor force who currently want a job was little changed at 5.7 million in October and remains above its February 2020 level of 5.0 million. These individuals were not counted as unemployed because they were not actively looking for work during the 4 weeks preceding the survey or were unavailable to take a job.

Among those not in the labor force who wanted a job, the number of persons marginally attached to the labor force was little changed in October at 1.5 million. These individuals wanted and were available for work and had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months but had not looked for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey. The number of discouraged workers, a subset
of the marginally attached who believed that no jobs were available for them, decreased by 114,000 to 371,000 in October.

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