Solid Jobs Data Seen in October

By Toni Vranjes

November 6, 2015

Following a downbeat September jobs report, the news from October is much brighter. Payroll growth beat economists’ predictions, while the unemployment rate fell to a level not seen for years.

Employment growth for last month was 271,000, driven by gains in a number of industries, the Labor Department reported today. In a Bloomberg survey of economists, the median forecast was 185,000 new jobs.

The jobless rate dropped from 5.1 percent to 5 percent – the lowest it’s been since April 2008. Meanwhile, the labor force grew by 313,000.

down_arrow_5_pt_0In another good sign, average hourly earnings increased by 9 cents last month. Compared to a year ago, average hourly earnings have increased by 2.5 percent — which is the fastest pace since the recovery began, wrote economist Diane Swonk on the Mesirow Financial blog.

She noted that the job growth was widespread, “in everything from professional services, which include entry-level workers, to construction, retail, food services and hospitals.”

Areas that didn’t fare as well include manufacturing, which had no change in employment, and mining, which lost 5,000 jobs. Manufacturing has been hit by a strong dollar and other trends, according to Swonk. In mining, low oil prices have taken a toll.

However, the overall employment picture is strong – which means that higher interest rates might be ahead.

“The October surge in employment, coupled with measurable wage gains, will give the Fed the green light needed for liftoff in December,” she wrote.

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