Employers Hire at Strong Pace, Despite Shutdown

By Toni Vranjes

November 8, 2013

Although last month’s government shutdown was costly and bitter, preliminary data show that the job market was quite resilient.

Hiring was stronger than predicted by economists, with payrolls up by 204,000, according to a survey released by the Labor Department today. The consensus forecast for October was 125,000 new jobs, as noted by IHS Global Insight.

up_arrow_7_pt_3Job growth occurred in a number of industries, including leisure and hospitality, which added 53,000 jobs. Other areas of growth were retail trade, professional and technical services, manufacturing, and health care.

The unemployment rate — which is derived from a separate survey — rose from 7.2 percent to 7.3 percent. For this survey, the Labor Department classifies furloughed government workers as “unemployed on temporary layoff.” In an analysis of the jobs report, IHS economist Doug Handler attributed the higher jobless rate mainly to the furlough of government workers.

By contrast, the furloughed workers were considered to be employed for the payroll survey.

Official estimate that the 16-day partial federal government shutdown cost the government billions of dollars, as reported by the publication Government Executive. The October employment data are subject to revision, so the exact impact of the shutdown is still unclear.

Meanwhile, some good news appeared in the government’s revised numbers for August and September. In those two months combined, the economy added 60,000 more jobs than previously reported.

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