Jobs Report Comes In Stronger Than Expected

Employers added 531K jobs in October, more than forecast
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 5, 2021 7:47 AM CDT
Jobs Report Comes In Stronger Than Expected
A help-wanted sign is displayed at a car wash in Indianapolis in this file photo.   (AP Photo/Michael Conroy, File)

The new monthly jobs report is out, and it's stronger than expected. Hiring in October improved significantly over September, though it's still behind the pace set in the first half of the year. The details:

  • New jobs: Employers added 531,000 jobs in October, above expectations of 400,000 to 450,000. "Solid" is the word used by the AP.
  • Unemployment: The unemployment rate fell from 4.8% to 4.6%. That, too, was better than the anticipated 4.7%, per CNBC. The pre-pandemic rate was 3.5%.
  • Context: The US added an average of 641,000 jobs a month in the first seven months of 2021, per the Wall Street Journal, but that figure dropped roughly in half in August and September. (September's initial figure of 194,000 new jobs was revised substantially upward to 312,000 on Friday.)

  • Still short: With the new numbers, the US still has about 4 million fewer jobs than it did at the start of the pandemic. "People are having to change industries, change careers, so that slows down that pace of recovery," Sarah House of Wells Fargo tells the Journal. "At the same time you still have ongoing constraints," including fears of getting sick and a shortage of day care providers.
  • Time: This week, Fed chief Jerome Powell said it could take months to get a true handle on the jobs picture, but he predicted that it should continue to improve as the impact of the delta variant diminishes.
(Read more employment stories.)

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