Employers Add 128,000 Jobs in October, Surpassing Economists’ Expectations

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. economy added 128,000 jobs in October, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), beating expectations by a wide margin. Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal had forecast an increase of 75,000 jobs. The October jobs report was widely considered to be a surprise to the upside considering that it reflected the 40-day United Auto Workers strike against General Motors that began Sept. 16 and ended Oct. 26. Meanwhile, the unemployment rate nationwide rose 10 basis points to 3.6 percent in October.

The employment gains were broad-based. Food services and drinking places added 48,000 jobs in October. The professional and business services sector gained 22,000 jobs and healthcare employment added 15,000 jobs. Over the last 12 months, the healthcare sector has added 402,000 jobs. Conversely, manufacturing employment decreased by 36,000 in October. Within manufacturing, employment in motor vehicles and parts declined by 42,000, reflecting strike activity.

The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for August was revised upward by 51,000 from 168,000 to 219,000, and the change for September was revised upward by 44,000 from 136,000 to 180,000. With these revisions by the BLS, employment gains in August and September combined were 95,000 more than previously reported.

In October, average hourly earnings for all employees on private, nonfarm payrolls rose by 6 cents to $28.18. Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings have increased 3 percent.

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