Economy Bounces Back with 261,000 New Jobs in October

The latest jobs numbers are out from the federal government. What do they mean for job seekers and employers? Here’s a quick take from Glassdoor’s Chief Economist Dr. Andrew Chamberlain:

This morning’s jobs report revealed surprisingly strong job gains in October, with 261,000 new jobs created. That strong growth pushed the nation’s unemployment rate down to 4.1 percent, the lowest in roughly 17 years.

As expected, last month’s reported job losses of -33,000 jobs due to Hurricanes Harvey and Irma in September were revised upward by BLS to a job gain of +18,000 jobs. That restores the all-time record streak of 85 consecutive months of positive job gains. As of the end of October, the current economic expansion reached 100 months, and is now the third longest expansion on record in U.S. history since 1854.

One weak point in today’s October jobs report was wages. After a very strong 2.9 percent year-over-year (YoY) wage growth in September, average hourly wages were up just 2.4 percent in October, despite a tightening labor market nationwide. In Glassdoor’s Local Pay Reports, we recorded 1.6 percent YoY growth in median base pay for full time workers in October — well below the normal pace of two to three percent per year.

One surprise in the October jobs report was a large drop in the nation’s labor force participation rate, from 63.1 percent in September to 62.7 percent in October — a huge drop for a single month. Economists have long predicted that labor force participation will continue to fall in the coming decades due to aging of the population, but this one-month drop shows that BLS surveys continue to be affected by short-term, storm-related disruption in the southeast.

Industries with the biggest job gains in October were leisure and hospitality (+106,000 jobs), professional and business services (+50,000 jobs), health care (+33,500 jobs), and manufacturing (+24,000 jobs). The industries with the weakest job growth last month include retail (-8,300 jobs), mining and logging (-2,000 jobs), information (-1,000 jobs), and utilities (+0 jobs).

With the upward revision of last month’s jobs figures, October marks the 85th straight month the economy has added jobs, an all-time record since the 1930s. Despite many headwinds, the U.S. labor market remains fundamentally healthy, with close to 6 million job openings available on Glassdoor, and robust hiring throughout health care, technology, professional services, e-commerce and many other sectors today.

To speak with Dr. Andrew Chamberlain about today’s jobs report or to discuss labor market trends, contact pr at Glassdoor dot com. For the latest economics and labor market updates, follow @adchamberlain on Twitter and subscribe to Glassdoor Economic Research.