October jobs report: 204k jobs added, 7.3 percent unemployment rate

The big questions ahead of today’s release of the October jobs report were all about the government shutdown: How it affected markets, how markets affected hiring, and how much Obama administration officials can manage to blame any and all negative economic news on those effects alone for months to come.


Economists were expecting some 128,000 jobs added, but the BLS‘s topline numbers are coming in a bit “better than expected”:

Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 204,000 in October, and the unemployment rate was little changed at 7.3 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Employment increased in leisure and hospitality, retail trade, professional and technical services, manufacturing, and health care. …

Both the number of unemployed persons, at 11.3 million, and the unemployment rate, at 7.3 percent, changed little in October. Among the unemployed, however, the number who reported being on temporary layoff increased by 448,000. This figure includes furloughed federal employees who were classified as unemployed on temporary layoff under the definitions used in the household survey.

Because furloughed government workers count as “unemployed” if they were away from work the entire week that included October 12th (the week or payroll period of the month on which jobs numbers are based), that partially accounts for the uptick in the unemployment rate. The labor force participation rate, however, once again worsened past its standing 35-year low:

The civilian labor force was down by 720,000 in October. The labor force participation rate fell by 0.4 percentage point to 62.8 percent over the month. Total employment as measured by the household survey fell by 735,000 over the month and the employment-population ratio declined by 0.3 percentage point to 58.3 percent. This employment
decline partly reflected a decline in federal government employment.


Partly. This time last year, the labor force participation rate was 63.8 percent.

The report also includes some upward revisions in the past two months’ employment gains, with a total of 60,000 more jobs added than previously thought:

The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for August was revised from +193,000 to +238,000, and the change for September was revised from +148,000 to +163,000. With these revisions, employment gains in August and September combined were 60,000 higher than previously reported.

Update: James Pethokoukis at AEI hits the nail on the head:

So for this monthly only, Republicans will look to the bright side of the monthly jobs numbers — “See, the government shutdown was a non-event” — the Democrats the opposite. Of course the counterfactual here, one Democrats will try and sell, is that even more jobs would have been created without the government shutdown. Indeed, the Obama White House seems to like counterfactuals. Recall the “jobs created or saved” metric to judge the stimulus.

Join the conversation as a VIP Member

Trending on HotAir Videos