U.S. Unemployment Rate Ticks Down To 4.1 Percent
The U.S. economy added 261,000 jobs in October, according to the monthly jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The unemployment rate fell by a small notch, from 4.2 percent to 4.1 percent.
While job creation showed a rebound from hurricane season, the October result didn’t meet analysts’ expectations that the report would easily top 300,000 jobs.
Friday’s report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics comes a month after large and destructive storms Hurricanes Harvey and Irma disrupted the U.S. economy. In September, the BLS initially said the economy lost 33,000 jobs. That result was revised today to show a net gain of 18,000 jobs.
When it was reported last month, the net loss broke a nearly seven-year run of consecutive months with job gains. Today’s revision to the September result restores that positive streak.
Before the storm-related slowdown, the economy had added 208,000 jobs in August — a figure that benefited from another upward revision today. Job creation for that month had initially been estimated at 156,000 and then 169,000 jobs.
As for where the jobs are, the BLS said, “In October, job gains also occurred in professional and business services, manufacturing, and health care.”
In terms of wages, federal economists say that the average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls — which had risen by 12 cents in September — dropped by 1 cent to $26.53. That rate has risen by only 63 cents, or 2.4 percent, over the past 12 months.
“Economists have been watching the wage numbers closely,” NPR’s Chris Arnold reports for our Newscast unit, “and hoping to see Americans getting more money in their pockets. But this report doesn’t show any relief from pretty anemic wage growth.”
The government breaks down the unemployment demographics:
“Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult women (3.6 percent) and Whites (3.5 percent) declined in October. The jobless rates for adult men (3.8 percent), teenagers (13.7 percent), Blacks (7.5 percent), Asians (3.1 percent), and Hispanics (4.8 percent) showed little change.”
The Labor Department unit also says that there were 524,000 discouraged workers in October, reflecting no meaningful change from one year earlier.
It defines that group of people: “Discouraged workers are persons not currently looking for work because they believe no jobs are available for them.”
The labor force participation rate was reported at 62.7 percent — a slight decrease, but in line with results over the previous 12 months.
BY: BILL CHAPPELL
November 3, 20178:33 AM ET