Job growth was better-than-expected in October and the unemployment rate fell sharply, despite the challenge of increasing coronavirus numbers and affecting the impact on the emerging economic recovery.
The Labor Department reported Friday that the number of non-farm workers rose by 638,000 and the unemployment rate stood at 6.9%. Economists polled by Dow Jones were looking for a wage increase of 530,000 and an unemployment rate of 7.7%, slightly below the September level of 7.9%.
October profit was just slightly below the September pace of 672,000.
The decline in the unemployment rate was positive as the activity rate rose 0.3 percentage points to 61.7%. An alternative measure, which includes discouraged workers and those who work part-time for economic reasons, also fell to 12.1% from 12.8% a month ago.
The survey of households showed even stronger employment growth: the total employment level rose by 2.24 million and the ratio of employment to population by 0.8 percentage points to 57.4%. The household survey also found the unemployment rate decreased by 1.52 million and the inactive population decreased by 541,000.
The markets reacted somewhat positively to the news, with Dow futures wiping out most of their previous losses.
The report comes as the US broke the 100,000-a-day mark this week, which resulted in both a surge in hospital stays and the death rate.
With the Federal Reserve stressing the link between the virus and economic growth, the US faces challenging months.
As a result of the growth in October, the total wage increases since May amount to around 12 million, although around 10 million positions are still vacant in March and April.
The biggest job gains during the pandemic were in the hardest hit sector, as leisure and hospitality increased by 271,000. 192,000 bars and restaurants increased.
Professional and business services increased 208,000 and retail increased 104,000, mainly in electronics and housewares stores which grew 31,000.
Construction also saw a hefty 84,000 gain, while transportation and storage rose 63,000 and manufacturing rose 83,000, although the sector is still well below pre-pandemic levels.
October gains would have been even better if the loss of 147,000 census workers had not contributed to a 268,000 decline in government jobs.
The growth of the previous months was revised slightly upwards. August rose 4,000 to 1.493 million and September rose 11,000 to 672,000.
This is the latest news. Please try again here.