U.S. Added 80,000 Jobs In October; Jobless Rate Dips

October jobs reportBy Christopher S. Rugaber

WASHINGTON -- The American economy added 80,000 jobs in October, and job growth in the two previous months was much stronger than first thought, an encouraging sign as the nation searches for a way out of the jobs crisis.

The unemployment rate dropped to 9 percent from 9.1 percent, the first time it has fallen since July, the government said Friday.

"Those are pretty good signs," said Michael Hanson, senior economist at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. "We're hanging in there."

Economists surveyed by FactSet, a provider of financial data, had expected a gain of 100,000 jobs. It takes a gain of about 125,000 jobs a month to keep up with population growth, more to bring down the unemployment rate.

The private sector added 104,000 jobs for the month.

The overall jobs figure was the smallest in four months. Still, there were smaller, more encouraging signs in the government's monthly snapshot of unemployment, one of the most closely watched economic reports.

The Labor Department said the economy added 102,000 more jobs in August and September than first thought. And the ranks of the long-term unemployed, people out of a job for at least six months, fell sharply to 5.9 million.

Hiring last month was broad. Professional and business services, which includes the accounting, engineering, and temporary help industries, added 32,000 jobs. Hotels, restaurants, and entertainment companies added 22,000. Health care added 12,000.

The construction sector cut 20,000 jobs for the month, the most since January. That industry is examined closely because a pickup in the housing market could add force to the economic recovery.

The number of discouraged workers - those who have given up looking for work and are no longer counted as unemployed, fell. And fewer people with part-time jobs were looking for full-time work.

The economy grew at an annual rate of 2.5 percent in July, August and September, its best performance in a year. In the first half of this year, the economy expanded at the slowest pace since the Great Recession ended in June 2009.

The stronger economy over the summer was powered by consumer spending, which grew three times as fast as it had this spring. Americans spent more even in the face of fears of a new recession and wild gyrations in the stock market.

Still, companies appear to be waiting for customer demand to pick up even more before they hire again in great numbers. They learned during and after the recession to live with fewer employees.

Worker productivity rose from July through September by the most in a year and a half. More productivity is usually good because companies pay workers more without raising prices. But workers generally are not getting raises this time.

The Federal Reserve this week lowered its forecast from economic growth to 1.7 percent for this year, down from a forecast of 2.7 percent issued over the summer. It also says unemployment will not come down substantially through the end of 2012.

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said Wednesday that growth is likely to be "frustratingly slow." The unemployment rate has hovered around 9 percent for more than two years.

The economy has absorbed a series of body blows this year.

In the spring, the devastating earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan disrupted supplies of cars and other products. The price of gas rose to a national average of almost $4 a gallon.

Then this summer, Washington was seized by gridlock over whether to raise the borrowing limit for the federal government and how best to tackle the nation's long-term debt problem.

More recently, economists have fretted over a debt crisis in Europe. That continent buys 20 percent of American exports, so a slowdown there would take a bite out of the U.S. economy, too.

The Greek prime minister this week called for a surprise popular vote on a European plan to bail out the debt-addled Greek economy. He later backed down, but even if Greece is stabilized, other European economies are weighed down by debt.

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Wait until next month, when they "redo" the numbers;, then we will see. They always "redo" the numbers after "better information" We will see this a lot until Nov 2012

November 04 2011 at 1:52 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to hftiii's comment

That's nothing new ... prior numbers have always been revised. Sometimes they are revised lower, sometimes higher, but there is no evidence of systematic error ... the size and direction of the adjustments are just what one would expect from a statistically random variation.

November 04 2011 at 1:55 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The article says it takes 125,000 jobs per month just to keep up with the population growth and more than 125,000 jobs to reduce the unemployment rate, but somehow 80,000 jobs was enough to reduce the unemployment rate - way to go Obama book cookers (or is it crookers). Maybe I study the "new math" that the NEA has been tooting for the last three decades.

November 04 2011 at 1:34 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to wilsonkoi's comment

Read my rounding post, below. It doesn not require a 0.1 change in the unemployment rate for the rate to go from 9.1 to 9.0 because the number is rounded to one decimal place. So last month's 9.1 may have been 9.07, which rounds to 9.1. And this moneth's might have been 9.04, which rounds to 9.0. Also, the number may have gone down due to a decrease in the Labor Participation Rate.

Why don't you look at the calculation methadology and raw data at the BLS before casting blame?

And try applying Occams' Razor before making up implausible scenarios when simple decimal arithmetic can do the job.

November 04 2011 at 1:48 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
James Gray

The 1% has not learned from the great capitalist Henry Ford....neither have the GOP. Ford gave his employees raises without being asked to. When asked by the press why he did it, he said, "If I don't, who will buy my cars?" The 1% are hoarding their wealth, yet complains about the lack of consumers in the United States. They're characteristically focused on their paychecks, rather than on the "long-term" source of their income. Perhaps they are too busy learning Chinese?

November 04 2011 at 1:18 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply

Nearly half of the unemployed have been out of work for over 2 years and their unemployment benefits have run out. Once their benefits run out obamas press team no longer counts those people as unemployed for these polls. Only people still recieving unemployment checks are counted as unemployed.

November 04 2011 at 1:13 PM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to keolwan's comment

Absolutely false. The number of people on or not on unemployment insurance has nothing at all to do with the calculation of the unemployment rate. You need to spend some time at bls.org to understand the calculation and the sources or the data series.

November 04 2011 at 1:15 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply

You hit the nail on the head.

November 04 2011 at 1:16 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Perhaps showing the falling of those on umemployment is due to the government asking if the person has another source of income, perhaps from their spouse, a pension, social security will have to pay a certain percentage of the unemployment insurance from their source of income, and in some cases, it's not worth losing your pension, source of income being attached, so you decline the entitled unemployment insurance, as you don't want legal problems, and are still young enough to work, but aren't getting jobs, due to age and experience, and the newest language, if you're out of work for more than a year, you will not be hired, but if you're still in a job, you will be hired.

November 04 2011 at 1:13 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

According to economic experts 250,000 jobs need to be created in one month to bring down unemployment .1 pct. So how is it possible the unemployment rate dropped with only 80,000 jobs being created.

November 04 2011 at 12:57 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to rockdarimz2215's comment

Well, there are quite a few possible explanations ... the most straightforward would be rounding: Perhaps last month's 9.1 was really 9.06 or 9.09 or 9.10 rounded to the 9.1. And perhaps this month's is 9.04 or 8.97 or 9.00 ... and any of these round to 9.1.

Or perhaps the labor force participation number dropped.

A few minutes at the BLS.gov site and one could see precisely waht happened in the two monthly calculations plus the data series used..

November 04 2011 at 1:10 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to itacurubi's comment

Oops ... the 9.04, 8.97, 9.00 round, of course, to the 9.0 figure, not the 9.1.

November 04 2011 at 1:11 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down

Oops. 9.04, 8.97, 9.00 would round to 9.0. In oter words, it doesn't require a change of 1% to go from 9.1 to 9.0 ... it can just be an arithmetic consequence of rounding to one decimal place.

November 04 2011 at 1:19 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down

Steps to Destroying America...Nafta Free Trade...sent Corporations packing with our tax money ..giving millions to corportaions to move their companies out of the USA..so they can exploit other Countries..No New Corporations were brought in from any other Country to the USA..cause we want to live better than others and we cost to much..So to help the other Corporations in the USA cause we have to hang on to a few jobs..someone has to pay taxes in order for Gov. to be paid..so they open the illgel crossing of millions to give Corporations an over abundance of labor to chose from..that keeps wages low,inflation high..Less and less Jobs cause the Gov. bailouts have help prosper the chosen and put the little guys out of buisness..so no new job growth can happen when you only give water to the crops you want to grow..We have been fooled and used like cattle..they put us all cramped in a city to give us the impression we are over populated when in fact..take a drive throughout the states..people populate less than .01% of the land..we have abundance of water under ground they don't want us to know about..and passed laws aginst us using..God gave us plenty of land..China has over a Billion people..America 100 million..if China can sustain a Billion..we have more resouces than they do..We are being lied to on a daily basis..But everything going on..we have been warned over 2,000 years ago..Revelation

November 04 2011 at 12:53 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Dear, dear. In spite of the rights best efforts to obstruct job growth in their infantile obsession with defeating Obama, jobs continue to be added.

If the unemployment rate drops into the 8's, Obama will be unbeatable. Poll after poll show that the voters have no confidence in congress, yet things still seem to be getting better, albeit slowly, no thanks to the GOP/ TP crowd. So Obama gets the credit.

With the GOP hopefuls at each others throats, an Obama win seems even more of a sure thing, since Herman, Rick and Mitt seem to be bent on destroying each other by any means necessary.

November 04 2011 at 12:52 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

Can't speak for other states but nearly every company we deal with has hired new employees this past month all in the construction industry. Our county is saying more notice of commencments have been filed this past month than in the last year alone which means new building is going on. So some places of the country there is hiring going on. Had a call regarding a former employee in another state and she said her company was having trouble finding people to work. There had 250 positions to fill and just couldn't find people willing to work. They would rather sit home and collect unemployment.

November 04 2011 at 12:50 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
God Loves You!!!

The reason the unemployment raate has dropped is that many have used up ALL of their benefits. It doesn't mean that they found a job. They are still joblesss. Get real experts- and unemployed person is not 9% unemployed-they are 100% unemployed !

November 04 2011 at 12:47 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to God Loves You!!!'s comment

Why do you people become UNGLUED when there are reports that UE is dropping? You RUSH to your computers to tell us to "get real". Apparently, you folks are just linked in to every single private employer in America...and KNOW that NONE HIRED. Nope.

November 04 2011 at 12:58 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to sfields435's comment

Yes, if these boards are any indication, it almost appears as if each time the unemployment rate goes down, IQs go down with it.

November 04 2011 at 1:13 PM Report abuse rate up rate down

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