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US nonfarm payroll employment rose by 148,000 in
September while nonfarm payroll employment rose by 204,000 in October, and the
unemployment rate was little changed at 7.3% according to the Bureau of Economic
the prior 12 months, job gains averaged 190,000 per month. In
October, employment rose in leisure and hospitality, retail
trade, professional and technical services, manufacturing, and
The release of these data comes 1 week later than
originally scheduled because of the recent partial federal
government shutdown, which began on October 1st and ended on
October 16th. All data collection activities for both the
household and payroll surveys were suspended during the
shutdown. Shortly after the shutdown ended, October data
collection for both surveys began. BLS delayed the release of
the October estimates by 1 week to allow enough time to collect
data. The October reference period for each survey was
unchanged. Although data collection was delayed, the response
rate for the household survey was within its normal range, and
the response rate for the establishment survey was above
Looking at the October payroll survey estimates, there were
no discernible impacts of the partial federal government
shutdown on the estimates of employment, hours, and earnings.
Leisure and hospitality employment increased by 53,000 in
October, following little change in the previous month. Job
growth in the industry averaged 34,000 per month over the prior
12 months. Most of the gain in October, as well as over the
year, occurred in food services and drinking places.
In October, retail trade gained 44,000 jobs, with increases
in food and beverage stores (+12,000), electronics and appliance
stores (+10,000), sporting goods and hobby stores (+8,000),
general merchandise stores (+8,000), and building material and
garden supply stores (+7,000). Clothing and accessories stores
lost 13,000 jobs.
Professional and technical services employment rose by
21,000 in October. The management and technical consulting
services component added 8,000 jobs.
In October, manufacturing employment rose by 19,000. On
net, factory employment has been about unchanged since a recent
peak in February 2013. Within manufacturing, job growth in
October occurred in motor vehicles and parts (+6,000), wood
products (+3,000), and furniture and related products (+3,000).
Health care employment was up by 15,000 in October,
following little change in September. Thus far in 2013, monthly
job growth has averaged 17,000 in the sector, compared with an
average monthly gain of 27,000 in 2012.
Elsewhere in the private sector, employment showed little
or no change in October.
Within government, federal government employment declined
by 12,000 in October. Over the year, job losses in federal
government have totalled 94,000. Federal employees on furlough
during the partial government shutdown were still considered
employed in the payroll survey because they worked or received
pay for the pay period that included the 12th of the month. In
the establishment survey, workers who are paid for any part of a
pay period are defined as employed.
Average hourly earnings of all employees on private nonfarm
payrolls edged up by 2 cents in October. Over the past 12
months, average hourly earnings have risen by 52 cents, or 2.2%. From September 2012 to September 2013, the Consumer
Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) rose by 1.2%.
Turning to our survey of households, the unemployment rate,
at 7.3%, was little changed in October, and the number of
unemployed persons remained at 11.3m.
Unlike the establishment survey, some of the estimates from
the household survey clearly reflect an impact of the partial
government shutdown. This is due to differences in the concepts
and definitions used in the two surveys. In the household
survey, workers who indicate that they were not working during
the entire reference week due to a shutdown-related furlough and
expect to be recalled to their jobs should be classified as
unemployed on temporary layoff, whether or not they are paid for
the time they were off work. In October, many furloughed federal
employees were so classified, contributing to a rise in the
overall number of persons unemployed on temporary layoff.
However, some federal workers who were not at work during
the entire reference week in October were not classified as
unemployed on temporary layoff. Rather, they were classified as
employed but absent from work. Our review of the data indicates
that most of these workers should have been classified as
unemployed on temporary layoff. Such a misclassification is an
example of nonsampling error and can occur when respondents
misunderstand questions or interviewers record answers
incorrectly. According to usual practice, the data from the
household survey are accepted as recorded. To maintain data
integrity, no ad hoc actions are taken to reassign survey
If the federal workers who were recorded as employed but
absent from work had been classified as unemployed on temporary
layoff, the overall unemployment rate would have been slightly,
but not substantively, higher than reported.
Returning to the indicators from the household survey for
October, the labour force level fell by 720,000 to 154.8m,
and the labour force participation rate decreased by 0.4%age point to 62.8%. The number of employed persons
fell by 735,000 to 143.6m, and the employment-population
ratio declined by 0.3%age point to 58.3%. The
October decrease in employment in the household survey was due
partly to federal workers on furlough from the partial
government shutdown. As always, subsequent months of data may
provide further insights into underlying trends in the job
In summary, nonfarm payroll employment increased by 204,000
in October, and the unemployment rate, at 7.3%, changed
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