The October jobs report released Friday by the Labor Department said that the U.S. economy created 151,000 jobs last month. The job creation numbers were more than expected, but barely enough to keep up with U.S. population growth. As a result, the unemployment rate remained stuck at 9.6 percent despite the job gains.
October jobs report numbers
The October jobs report was a somewhat pleasant surprise for economic forecasters that expected a net increase of about 60,000 jobs. The Labor Department report was a major improvement over September’s numbers, which showed a net loss of 41,000 jobs. After hemorrhaging jobs for two straight years, the private sector has shown job growth for 10 months in a row. The October numbers were the best since May. U.S. companies hired an additional 159,000 people in October, exceeding the 92,000 jobs predicted by economists. The government cut 8,000 jobs in October, which resulted in the 151,000 total.
Industries that are hiring
According to the October jobs report, industries that are hiring include health care, retail, temp workers, mining and small businesses. Health care providers hired 24,000 workers. Food service hired another 24,000 and retailers added 28,000. The temporary work force grew by 35,000. A weaker dollar boosted mining to the tune of 8,000 jobs. Because it takes small businesses longer to report their hiring activity to the Labor Department, job creation numbers from August and September were revised upward by 110,000.
A long, hard road ahead
Despite the October job creation, the U.S. has a long way to go. Economic growth is still too weak to affect the 9.6 percent unemployment rate. At least 15 million people are looking for work. Taking into account part-time workers who can’t find full-time jobs and people who have given up looking, the unemployment rate is 17 percent. According to the Brookings Institution, even if job creation grows to the highest levels of the past decade–208,000 jobs a month–it will take 12 years to close the gap between the growing labor force and available jobs.