U.S. employers added 638,000 jobs in October. This was a slowdown from the previous month, but higher than economists expected. Despite the growth, the jobs numbers still remain far below pre-pandemic levels. The unemployment rate fell to 6.9%. Year-over-year wage growth was at 4.5%.
638,000: Employers added 638,000 jobs to the economy in October
6.9%: The unemployment rate fell to 6.9%
4.5%: Wages rose 4.5% over the past year
The U.S. economy continued to add jobs for the sixth straight month. The 638,000 jobs added surpassed economists’ expectations, especially because the number was offset by the loss of 268,000 government jobs. Most of those losses were temporary census jobs. The gain for private sector employers was 906,000. The biggest gains came in leisure and hospitality, retail and construction, as the Wall Street Journal reports. The drop in the unemployment rate to 6.9% is also good news.
In a normal year, the 638,000 jobs would have been considered a great month of growth; however, 2020 is not a typical year. The Washington Post reports that October’s job growth is another slowdown. About 11 million people remain unemployed. The unemployment rate is also unevenly distributed. Black American workers still face an unemployment rate of 10.8%, while the unemployment rate for white workers is only 6%.
The October jobs report has come down at a particularly uncertain time in an already uncertain year. Coronavirus cases are surging across the country and there is still no clarity on further federal aid.
As the New York Times reports, some of the hardest hit industries could face another setback as winter arrives. Outdoor dining has helped bring back restaurant jobs, but as the weather cools and some states add more restrictions on indoor dining, the leisure and hospitality industry faces another difficult period.