US nonfarm payroll employment rose by 271,000 in October, and the unemployment rate was essentially unchanged at 5.0%. Job gains occurred in professional and business services, health care, retail trade, food services and drinking places, and construction. The broad rate of unemployment was 9.8%.


Incorporating revisions for August and September, which increased nonfarm payroll employment by 12,000, on net, monthly job gains averaged 187,000 over the past 3 months. In the 12 months prior to October, employment growth averaged 230,000 per month.

Employment in professional and business services rose by 78,000 in October, compared with an average monthly gain of 52,000 over the prior 12 months. In October, job gains occurred in administrative and support services (+46,000), computer systems design and related services (+10,000), and architectural and engineering services (+8,000).

The health care industry added 45,000 jobs in October. Over the month, employment rose by 27,000 in ambulatory health care services (which includes offices of physicians and home health care) and by 18,000 in hospitals. Over the year, health care has added 495,000 jobs, with about a third of the gain in hospitals.

Retail trade employment grew by 44,000 in October, compared with an average monthly gain of 25,000 over the prior 12 months. In October, job gains occurred in clothing and accessories stores (+20,000), general merchandise stores (+11,000), and automobile dealers (+6,000).

Within the leisure and hospitality industry, employment in food services and drinking places rose by 42,000 in October and by 368,000 over the year.

Construction added 31,000 jobs in October, following little change in recent months. Over the month, nonresidential specialty trade contractors added 21,000 jobs. Over the past 12 months, construction employment has increased by 233,000.

Employment in mining continued to trend down in October (-5,000). Since reaching a recent peak in December 2014, employment in this industry has declined by 109,000. Manufacturing employment was unchanged over the month and has shown little net change thus far this year.

Average hourly earnings of all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose by 9 cents in October to $25.20, following little change (+1 cent) in September. Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings have risen by 2.5%. From September 2014 to September 2015, the Consumer Price Index for all Urban Consumers (CPI-U) was unchanged (on a seasonally adjusted basis).

Turning to measures from the household survey, both the unemployment rate, at 5.0%, and the number of unemployed persons, at 7.9m, were essentially unchanged in October. These measures were down by 0.7 percentage point and 1.1m, respectively, over the year. Among the unemployed in October, 26.8% had been jobless for 27 weeks or longer.

The labour force participation rate, at 62.4%, was unchanged in October, after declining by 0.2 percentage point in September — this is the lowest level since the 1970s. The employment-population ratio was little changed in October, at 59.3%, and has shown little movement over the past year.

The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons edged down to 5.8m in October. These individuals, also referred to as involuntary part-time workers, would have preferred full-time employment but were working part time because their hours had been cut back or because they were unable to find full-time work. The number of persons working part time for economic reasons has declined by 1.2m over the past year.

Among people who were neither working nor looking for work in October, 1.9m were classified as marginally attached to the labour force, down from 2.2m a year earlier. These individuals had not looked for work in the 4 weeks prior to the survey but wanted a job, were available to work, and had looked for a job within the last 12 months. The number of discouraged workers, a subset of the marginally attached who believed that no jobs were available for them, was 665,000 in October, little different from a year earlier.

US jobs employment 2015

US pay/ productivity gap; Real wages for typical worker flat since 1970s

US employment ratio in 2015 remains at recession trough in June 2009

Pic above: President Barack Obama boards Marine One at Newark Liberty International Airport in Newark, New Jersey, 2 Nov, 2015.