• US economy added 128,000 jobs in October, beating the 89,000 forecast.
  • Positive revisions to August and September totaled 95,000.
  • General Motors strike subtracted between 46,000 and 80,000 from payrolls.

The US economy has turned in another bang-up employment report.

Belying estimates of the first sub-100,000 report since May and rumors of a negative number US firms added 128,000 workers in October.

Revisions to August and September payrolls boosted prior totals by 95,000 bringing the three month average to 176,000 and to 167,000 for the year.  Payrolls average 223,000 in 2018.

Non-Farm Payrolls

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October’s numbers were reduced between 46,000 and 80,000 by striking GM workers and layoffs in related industries, according to a Labor Department report earlier in the week. Those workers will return to the rolls in November. The strike resulted in a 36,000 drop in manufacturing employment.

Annual wage gains rose 3.0% and September's increase, which at 2.9% had been the first month below 3% in 13 months, was revised up to 3%.

Unemployment Rate U-3

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The unemployment rate ticked up 0.1% to 3.6% but remains near the lowest in half a century. More workers sought employment as the participation rate moved up to 63.3%. The unemployment rate for African-Americans dropped to 5.4%, a new all-time low.  

The so-called underemployment rate, which many analysts consider a more accurate picture of joblessness, rose to 7.0% from 6.9%.

This Labor Department report allays fears that the damage the China trade dispute has done to manufacturing employment was beginning to affect the much larger service sector.

On Wednesday the Federal Reserve cut its base rate for the third time in as many meetings but indicated that this was likely to be the last reduction for some time.  The Fed had repeatedly cited the US China trade war, the global economic slowdown and an unregulated Brexit as serious threats to the long running US expansion.

Chairman Powell said the US economy “was in a good place” in his remarks after Wednesday’s rate announcement and today’s report would seem to bear out the Fed’s assessment.

The dollar and Treasury yields spiked on the report but were unable to hold their gains. Equities were sharply higher with the Dow ahead by 200 points and the S&P 500 at a new record at 10:03 EDT.

 

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