October NFP +261,000; Unemployment 4.1%

The U.S. economy created 261,000 net jobs last month. Economists were expecting 313,000. The unemployment rate dropped to 4.1%. Revisions added 90,000 jobs.

The jobless rate last month edged down to 4.1%, the lowest reading since December 2000. That low rate, however, reflects that fewer Americans were working or seeking work during the month. The labor-force participation rate slipped to 62.7% from 63.1% in September. The prior month’s reading was the highest in years—and the participation rate slipped in October back to a level recorded this spring.

Average hourly earnings slipped by a penny to $26.53 in October. It was disappointing showing for wages, which had appeared to break out the prior month. From a year earlier, hourly pay rose a lackluster 2.4% in October. Many economists are waiting to see wages rise at a faster pace given the historically low unemployment rate.

A broad measure of unemployment and underemployment known as the U-6, which includes people stuck in part-time jobs and others, was 7.9% in October. That was the lowest monthly reading since 2006.The rate has been declining this year in concert with the narrower unemployment rate, known to government statisticians as the U-3.

The unemployment rate is lower now than it was during the entire 70s, 80s and 90s. The only exceptions are January 1970 and December 1999.

Posted by on November 3rd, 2017 at 8:37 am

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