The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) jobs report showed the U.S. economy added 261,000 jobs and the unemployment rate fell to 4.1%, the lowest level in 17 years. It hasn’t been that low since December 2000.
The number of unemployed persons decreased by 281,000 to 6.5 million, though the labor force participation rate and employment-population ratio decreased by 0.4 and 0.2, respectively.
While wage inflation eased back, the lower paying sectors continue to represent a smaller share of the jobs created than higher paying sectors. For instance, employment in food services and drinking places rose significantly by 89,000, while professional business and services rose by 50,000.
Manufacturing rose solidly by 24,000 and declining before the policy-change under the Trump Administration. The manufacturing sector has added 156,000 jobs since a recent employment low in November 2016, when President Donald Trump was elected.
The average workweek for all employees was essentially unchanged at 34.4 hours in October save for manufacturing, which increased by 0.2 hour to 41.0 hours. Overtime ticked up by 0.1 hour to 3.5 hours. The average workweek for production and nonsupervisory employees on private nonfarm payrolls also edged up by 0.1 hour to 33.7 hours.
Average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls, at $26.53, was little changed after rising by 12 cents in September. However, over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings have finally increased by 63 cents, or 2.4%.