Employers Maintain a Strong Pace of Hiring

Total nonfarm payrolls rose by 161,000 in October while the unemployment rate dipped slightly from 5 percent in September to 4.9 percent. The number of unemployed also dipped in October to 7.8 million. The revision in numbers for both August and September, reflect an additional 44,000 employment gains, bringing the monthly average over the last three months to 176,000.

Employment continued to trend up in health care (+31,000), professional and business services (+43,000), and financial activities (+14,000). Combined, these three industries have filled over 100 thousand positions this year. Employment in other major industries, including mining, construction, manufacturing, wholesale trade, retail trade, transportation and warehousing, information, leisure and hospitality, and government, changed little over the month.

The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) was unchanged at 2.0 million in October and accounted for 25.2 percent of the unemployed.

Average hourly earnings climbed an additional 10 cents to $25.92 with an annualized increase of 2.8 percent. Wage growth is at its strongest point right now with the employment-to-population ratio reaching 78.2 percent, a level it hasn’t reached since 2008.

Employment gains have remained steady since the recession ended providing a rise in earnings in recent years which solidifies a rate increase before the end of the year.  Some, however, are suspecting  that the outcome of Tuesday’s election may ultimately affect that action even further.