3 things to know about the October 2018 jobs report

BLS jobs report 4


According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ monthly jobs report, average wages saw unexpected growth in October, increasing by 3.1 percent from last year, while the U.S. economy added 250,000 jobs, considerably higher than Bloomberg’s median estimate of 200,000.
Here are some of the highlights from the report.
1. Better-than-expected wage growth 
Earnings for workers have been slower to recover from the recession than many other metrics, but that may no longer be the case. Average earnings rose by 0.2 percent this month, and are up 3.1 percent over last year.
CBS News: “Average monthly earnings increased 3.1 percent from the year before, the first time in the current economic expansion that the figure has crossed the 3 percent mark. Other data released this week shows that compensation costs are now rising more quickly. The last time wages grew this quickly was in early 2009.”
Wall Street Journal: “With relatively few unemployed Americans looking for work, employers are increasingly having to bid up wages to poach workers from other employers. That has been happening for several years for higher-skilled workers such as engineers and welders, but now it is occurring for relatively lower-skilled jobs such as warehouse workers and home-care aides.”
CNN Business: “The year-over-year percentage growth in average hourly earnings looks slightly larger than it actually is because wages declined last October as low-wage workers returned to their jobs following a particularly strong hurricane season. But economists said it's still encouraging, as it's trending well above the inflation rate, meaning that workers' pay is actually going further.”
2. Unemployment rate holds steady
In September, the unemployment rate dropped to 3.7 percent the lowest it had been in almost 50 years, and this report shows that it has remained at 3.7 percent through October.
CBS News: “The unemployment rate stayed at 3.7 percent, the lowest it's been in nearly 50 years. Adding to the positive news, the labor participation rate—the share of people working or searching for work—ticked up .2 percent. It moved up half a percentage point for workers in the 25-to-55 age group.”
The Wall Street Journal: “Last month, a net 711,000 Americans entered the labor force, causing the share of American adults working or looking for work to rise to 62.9% from 62.7% in September. While unemployment is historically low, the labor-force participation rate is still just above multidecade lows.”
3. Growth in a wide variety of industries
With 250,000 new jobs this month, there are very few sectors of the economy that did not see some of that growth.
BBC: “Most sectors of the economy saw job gains, the Labor Department figures show. The healthcare sector added 36,000 jobs, manufacturing 32,000 and construction 30,000. Employment in the leisure and hospitality sector rose by 42,000 last month. That followed no change in September, which the Labor Department said was probably due to the impact of Hurricane Florence.”
The New York Times: “The Center for Economic and Policy Research, a left-of-center organization that has been tracking the growth of blue-collar jobs, noted that the manufacturing, construction, and mining and logging sectors have added jobs every month through September for more than a year. These industries long served to prop up the middle class with higher wages and benefits, particularly among workers without a college education.”

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