Economy adds 250K jobs in October

The U.S. economy added 250,000 jobs in October, well above estimates, as the labor market maintains its momentum ahead of Tuesday’s midterm elections.

The unemployment rate held at 3.7 percent, the lowest level since December 1969, the Labor Department reported on Friday.

{mosads}Wages rose 3.1 percent, the first time since April of 2009 that growth has topped 3 percent.

The strength of the job market gives President Trump and Republicans a welcome talking point four days out from Election Day.

Trump has filled his schedule heading into Tuesday with political rallies in which he often touts his low unemployment numbers, trying to convince voters that the GOP will do a better job of keeping the economy healthy.

The president touted the numbers in a Friday morning tweet, telling his 55.6 million followers to “vote Republican!”

“The U.S. labor market is in excellent shape in October,” said Bill Adams, PNC’s senior economist.  

“The unemployment rate is the lowest since 1969, wage growth is the strongest since 2009, and the number of job openings has exceeded active jobseekers since March,” he said.  

“Some of October’s strong payroll growth is catch-up after the impact of Hurricane Florence, but the trend in 2018 has been strong.”

The economy has added jobs for 97 straight months, beginning in October 2010 under former President Obama. It is the longest streak of monthly jobs growth on record.

“All told, the labor market keeps expanding at a robust pace,” wrote University of Michigan economist Justin Wolfers on Twitter. 

“Indeed, jobs growth this rapid with unemployment this low might be hard to sustain,” Wolfers added.

The economy grew at a 3.5 percent annual clip in the third quarter, slower than the 4.2 percent in the April-to-June quarter, the Commerce Department reported last week.

“I’m not seeing anything bad in this jobs report,” said Jason Furman, the former head of the Council of Economic Advisers under Obama. 

“Strong hourly wage growth, even stronger weekly wage growth, higher labor force participation, lower broader underemployment, while job growth bounced back from last month and the unemployment rate remained low,” he said on Twitter Friday. 

Earlier this week, the government reported that private-sector wages increased 3.1 percent over the past year, which is the largest jump since 2008 and the first time wages eclipsed 3 percent since the financial crisis.

Economists had estimated growth of about 208,000 jobs last month after gains averaged 218,000 over the past three.  
October’s job growth occurred across health care, manufacturing, construction and transportation and warehousing.

Employment in manufacturing increased 32,000, with the sector adding 296,000 jobs over the past year.

Construction employment rose 30,000 in October, and by 330,000 jobs in the past 12 months.

“The numbers released today show U.S. manufacturers continue to grow and hire despite facing challenges, including a massive worker shortage and global uncertainty,” said Chad Moutray, chief economist for the National Association of Manufacturers.

“With nearly half a million open positions in the industry, the worker shortage remains the biggest challenge manufacturers face.”

Health care tacked on 36,000 jobs while transportation and warehousing added 25,000 jobs last month. 

Employment in leisure and hospitality rose 42,000, while professional and business services added 35,000 last month and 516,000 jobs over the past year. 

Mining jobs have continued to increase, adding 5,000 in October. The industry has added 65,000 jobs over the year, with most of the gain in support activities for mining.

—Updated at 9:53 a.m.
Tags Donald Trump Jason Furman

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