U.S. labor pool adds 250,000 jobs in October, DOL Secretary credits ‘Trump economy’

by Wesley Brown ([email protected]) 203 views 

The U.S. economy added another 250,000 nonfarm jobs in October as the U.S. labor pool hit a record high of 156.562 million workers, the U.S. Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported Friday (Oct. 2).

Between September and October, the U.S. jobless rate remained unchanged at 3.7% as total nonfarm payroll employment gains were posted primarily in health care, manufacturing, construction, and transportation and warehousing. The Labor Department’s snapshot of the U.S. job marketplace easily beat economists’ expectations of only 188,000 job gains and a jobless rate of 3.7%, according to the Wall Street Journal’s monthly survey.

Following the market-moving job report, U.S. Labor Department Secretary Alexander Acosta credited President Donald Trump for “another booming month of job creation,” noting that the jobless rate held at the lowest level since 1969 for the second straight month.

“Over the past year, we have had the largest increase in average hourly earnings since 2009. It is encouraging to see that Americans are seeing more in their paychecks as job creators compete for the best talent in the workforce,” Acosta said in a statement. “The October jobs report added more positive news to the soaring Trump economy.”

Acosta also said noted that Hurricane Michael’s path through the Florida Panhandle on Oct. 10 had no discernible effect on employment data or responses to the monthly labor survey.

“Parts of the U.S. continue to recover from devastation caused by Hurricane Florence and Hurricane Michael. The Department of Labor is working closely with impacted states to help dislocated workers get back to work as quickly as possible,” said Acosta.

In September, the U.S. civilian labor force added a disappointing 118,000 nonfarm positions. At the same time, Arkansas’ unemployment rate fell to an all-time low of 3.7% through September, eclipsing the previous record touched in August and the summer of 2017 when the state’s labor pool climbed to more than 1.35 million workers.

Among the major worker groups, the jobless rates for adult men (3.5%), adult women (3.4%), teenagers (11.9%), Whites (3.3%), Blacks (6.2%), Asians (3.2%), and Hispanics (4.4%) showed little or no change in October. The labor force participation rate and the employment-population ratio both declined 0.2 percentage points in October to 62.9% and 60.6%, respectively.

The number of long-term unemployed, or those jobless for 27 weeks or more, was essentially unchanged at 1.4 million in October and accounted for 22.5% of the unemployed.

The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons was unchanged at 4.6 million. There were 1.5 million marginally attached workers in the U.S. labor force, little different from a year earlier. These individuals were not in the labor force, but wanted and were available for work and had looked for a job sometime in the past year.

Among the 250,000 job additions in October, the health care sector added 36,000 jobs with hospitals, nursing and residential care facilities, and ambulatory health care services trending upward. For the year, health care employment grew by 323,000.

In the blue-collar focused manufacturing and construction sectors, some 32,000 and 30,000 jobs were added, respective. In October, employment in manufacturing increased by 32,000 with durable goods factories seeing a strong bump. Manufacturing has added 296,000 jobs in 2018, largely in durable goods industries.

Construction employment rose by 30,000 in October, with nearly half of the gain occurring among residential specialty trade contractors. Over the year, construction has added 330,000 jobs as the Associated General Contractors of America reported Friday that spending in the sector spiked to a record adjusted annual rate of $1.329 trillion, or 5.5% for nine months of 2018 combined.

“Construction spending has increased among nearly every project type and geographic area this year,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist.

Among other key sectors, transportation and warehousing added 25,000 jobs in October. Over the year, employment in sector has grown by 184,000. Despite the end of the summer driving season on Labor Day, employment in leisure and hospitality edged up in October by 42,000. That sector has averaged a monthly gains 21,000 new positions over the past 12 months.

Employment in professional and business services, which has been Arkansas’ strongest sector, continued to trend up nationally with 35,000 job adds in October and 516,000 for the year. Employment in mining, which includes the oil and gas industry, added 5,000 in October to a year total of 65,000.

Employment in other major industries, including wholesale trade, retail trade, information, financial activities, and government, showed little or no change over the month.

The average workweek for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls increased by 0.1% to 34.5 hours in October. In manufacturing, the workweek edged down 0.1 to 41 hours and 3.5 hours of overtime. The average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose by five cents to $27.30. Over the year, average hourly earnings have increased by 83 cents, or 3.1%.

The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for September was revised down from 134,000 to 118,000. That was mostly offset by the August revision to 286,000 jobs, up from 270,000. Earlier Tuesday, ADP’s National Employment Report showed that 227,000 private sector jobs had been added to U.S. payrolls in October. That widely-held report, which is derived from ADP’s actual payroll data, measures the change in total nonfarm private employment each month on a seasonally-adjusted basis.

“Despite a significant shortage in skilled talent, the labor market continues to grow,” said Ahu Yildirmaz, vice president and co-head of the ADP Research Institute. ”We saw significant gains across all industries with trade and leisure and hospitality leading the way.  We continue to see larger employers benefit in this environment as they are more apt to provide the competitive wages and strong benefits employees desire.”

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