Keeping you up to date on the latest data releases.
- The Employment Situation
Nonfarm payrolls expanded by 151,000 in October, following large upward revisions to private payrolls in September and August (totaling 93,000), and leaving its three month average increase at 136,000. As expected, government payrolls ticked down slightly (−8,000) as the number of temporary Census workers left on the payroll dwindled to a negligible 1,000. Nearly all of October’s gain came from the service side, as goods-producing payrolls only edged up 5,000. In fact, construction and manufacturing employment levels are little changed since May. On the service side, the largest gains came from education and health services (up 53,000), temporary help services (up 34,900), and retail trade (up 27,900). Temporary help services have increased by roughly 409,000 over the past year, accounting for almost 40 percent of the growth in private-service sector employment over that time period. Also, average hours and earnings continued to increase. On the household side of the report, the number of unemployed persons was little changed in October, and the unemployment rate remained at 9.6 percent. However, both the labor force participation rate and the employment-to-population ratio worsened during the month. The participation rate fell 0.2 percentage points to 64.5. And perhaps more importantly, the employment-to-population ratio—which tends to be a cleaner measure of labor market duress than the unemployment rate—slipped down from 58.5 percent to 58.3 percent in October and is now hovering just 0.1 percentage point above its current cyclical low of 58.2 reached last December.