Oc­to­ber job num­bers are up de­spite storms

Austin American-Statesman Sunday - - STATESMAN SUNDAY - By David Wil­fong STATES­MAN CON­TENT MAR­KET­ING

Fol­low­ing a month of as­sess­ing dam­ages from storms on the gulf coast, the U.S. man­aged to add 261,000 new jobs in Oc­to­ber, and also saw the over­all un­em­ploy­ment rate drop an­other tenth of a point to set­tle at 4.1 per­cent. This is the low­est un­em­ploy­ment rate in the U.S. since De­cem­ber 2000.

Part of the in­crease in Oc­to­ber was sim­ply mak­ing up ground lost in cer­tain in­dus­tries as a re­sult of the re­cent dam­ages along the coast from hur­ri­canes.

“Em­ploy­ment rose sharply in food ser­vices and drink­ing places, mostly off­set­ting a de­cline in Septem­ber that largely re­flected the im­pact of Hur­ri­canesI rma and Har­vey,” said Wil­liam J. Wi­a­trowski, act­ing com­mis­sioner for the Bureau of La­bor Statis­tics (BLS). “Em­ploy­ment in food ser­vices and drink­ing places in­creased by 89,000 in Oc­to­ber. This fol­lowed a de­cline of 98,000 in Septem­ber. Many work­ers in this in­dus­try who were off pay­rolls due to the hur­ri­canes re­turned to their jobs in Oc­to­ber.”

Among goods-pro­duc­ing in­dus­tries, Con­struc­tion came out on top, adding 16,000 new jobs dur­ing the month. The bump in con­struc­tion po­si­tions was met with a 24,000 job in­crease in Man­u­fac­tur­ing. Min­ing and Log­ging (which in­cludes the oil in­dus­try) suf­fered a slight set­back with the loss of 2,000 jobs. Over­all, the goods-pro­duc­ing sec­tor of the job mar­ket in­creased by 33,000 po­si­tions over the month.

Em­ploy­ment in Pro­fes­sional and Busi­ness Ser­vices also saw a large gain in Oc­to­ber, with 50,000 new po­si­tions added. While high among gains in the var­i­ous in­dus­tries, the in­crease is in line with the monthly av­er­ages for 2017 in that cat­e­gory.

Em­ploy­ment in Health Care rose by 22,000 in Oc­to­ber with a large spike in am­bu­la­tory health care ser­vices. The in­dus­try has added an av­er­age of 24,000 jobs each month in 2017, which is down from the 2016 av­er­age of 32,000.

The In­for­ma­tion in­dus­try is still suf­fer­ing, los­ing an­other 1,000 jobs in Oc­to­ber. With some ex­cep­tional months, the In­for­ma­tion in­dus­try has been steadily shed­ding j ob­s­fors ome time now. A year ago, in Oc­to­ber 2016, the in­dus­try was al­ready los­ing 6,000. It has been at zero or neg­a­tive num­bers for the past quar­ter.

It has also been a bumpy ride re­cently for Re­tail Trade, though the in­dus­try fluc­tu­ates be­tween pos­i­tive and neg­a­tive months. In Oc­to­ber, it lost 8,300 jobs af­ter gain­ing 6,700 in Septem­ber.

“Av­er­age hourly earn­ings of all em­ploy­ees on pri­vate non-farm pay­rolls changed lit­tle in Oc­to­ber (-1 cent), af­ter in­creas­ing by 12 cents in Septem­ber,” Wi­a­trowski said. “Over the past 12 months, av­er­age hourly earn­ings have risen by 2.4 per­cent. From Septem­ber 2016 to Septe mber2017,theCons umer Price In­dex for All Ur­ban Con­sumers (CPI-U) in­creased by 2.2 per­cent ( onasea son­ally ad­justed ba­sis).

“Turn­ing now to mea­sures from the house­hold sur­vey, the un­em­ploy­ment rate edged down to 4.1 per­cent in Oc­to­ber and is down by 0.7 per­cent­age point since Jan­uary. The num­ber of un­em­ployed peo­ple de­clined by 281,000 to 6.5 mil­lion in Oc­to­ber and has fallen by 1.1 mil­lion since Jan­uary.”


Hur­ri­cane Har­vey af­fected many jobs in the food and bev­er­age in­dus­try.

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