Wage Growth Surges Ahead in October Jobs Report

November 2, 2018

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 showed a U.S. economy roaring ahead in October, with employers adding a robust 250,000 new jobs to payrolls and an unemployment rate steady at 3.7 percent — the lowest unemployment rate since 1969.

The big surprise in today’s jobs report was strong wage growth. Average hourly earnings rose by 3.1 percent from a year ago in October, breaking above the symbolic 3.0 percent barrier for the first time in nearly a decade, since April 2009.

After years of slow wage growth hovering near 2 to 2.5 percent, today’s jobs report is a landmark in the long recovery since the Great Recession, showing the power of a tight labor market to raise pay for American workers if allowed to run hot for a sufficiently long time.

Today’s strong wage gains are consistent with the latest Glassdoor Local Pay Reports, in which we’ve seen steadily building wage pressure this year, with annual pay gains topping 3-4 percent in tech-heavy metros such as San Francisco and New York City.

Today’s surging economy prompted 711,000 new workers to enter the labor force in October. That pushed up the nation’s labor force participation rate by 0.2 percentage points to 62.9 percent — a sign that rising pay and booming job growth is pulling in some marginally attached workers, further tightening a labor market already at full employment.

The strongest job gains in October were in the healthcare sector, which added a staggering 46,700 jobs last month. Other leading sectors adding jobs include leisure and hospitality (+42,000 jobs), professional and business services (+35,000 jobs), manufacturing (+32,000 jobs), construction (+30,000 jobs), and transportation and warehousing (+24,800 jobs).

Today’s jobs report marks 97 consecutive months of positive job gains for the nation’s roaring economy. The U.S. economic expansion has now been stretching out for 112 months. If the economy can continue to march forward for another eight months, we’ll tie the all-time record for the longest economic expansion in U.S. history since the 1850s of 120 months (a record set originally in the 1990s).

With good news in most economic indicators today, it’s likely the nation’s job market will continue sailing ahead at least through the remainder of 2018.

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.