The US economy added better-than-expected 250,000 jobs in October

Posted at 8:06 AM, Nov 02, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-02 10:07:56-04

The US economy added 250,000 jobs in October, significantly exceeding expectations, the government announced Friday.

The unemployment rate remained at 3.7%, a 49-year low. Hispanic unemployment reached its lowest rate ever, at 4.4%.

Wages grew 3.1%, strong growth after years of stagnant paychecks.

The number gives President Donald Trump and congressional Republicans a positive talking point as they head into the midterm elections next Tuesday, even amidst turmoil on the major stock exchanges over the past few weeks.

Press secretary Sarah Sanders tweeted Friday morning about the report.

“Clearly there’s some concern in financial markets, but this report just tells you that the labor market is just shrugging that off for now,” said Josh Wright, chief economist for the recruiting platform iCIMS. “Even if some corporations are concerned about the medium-term outlook, in the very near term they’re really focused on bringing in fresh talent to capitalize on the economy for as long as it lasts.”

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.

Some of the strong payrolls growth numbers came from a slight downward revision to September’s number, but overall it lifts the average over the past 12 months to 211,000.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics said last month that Hurricane Florence may have depressed job growth, but that Hurricane Michael in the Florida panhandle had “no discernible effect.”

Most of the net new jobs came from healthcare, manufacturing, and construction.

-Lydia DePillis reporting for CNN

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