October job numbers are up despite storms
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.