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U.S. Economy Adds 171,000 Jobs in October

Most gains seen in professional and business services, health care, and retail trade; manufacturing holds steady.

A newly released report from the Department of Labor showed the U.S. economy added 171,000 jobs in October, slightly surpassing the expectations of analysts who had forecast numbers in the 125,000 range. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported employment rose in professional and business services, health care, and retail trade.* What's more, the Department of Labor revised the job gains for August (up to 192,000 from 142,000) and September (up to 148,000 from 114,000).

Following are some highlights from the jobs report:

Professional and business services added 51,000 jobs in October, with gains in services to buildings and dwellings (+13,000) and in computer systems design (+7,000). Employment in professional and business services has grown by 1.6 million since its most recent low point in September 2009.

Health care added 31,000 jobs in October. Job gains continued in ambulatory health care services (+25,000) and hospitals (+6,000). Over the past year, employment in health care has risen by 296,000.

Retail trade added 36,000 jobs in October, with gains in motor vehicles and parts dealers (+7,000), and in furniture and home furnishings stores (+4,000). Employment in leisure and hospitality continued to trend up (+28,000) over the month.

This industry has added 811,000 jobs since a recent low point in January 2010, with most of the gain occurring in food services.

Employment in construction edged up in October. The gain was concentrated in specialty trade contractors (+17,000).

Manufacturing employment changed little in October; the sector had lost jobs during the previous month. 

Mining lost 9,000 jobs in October, with most of the decline occurring in support activities for mining. Since May of this year, employment in mining has decreased by 17,000.

Employment in other major industries, including wholesale trade, transportation and warehousing, information, financial activities, and government, showed little change over the month.

Temporary help employment changed little in October and has shown little net change over the past three months.

To view the complete report, which includes key household survey data and additional analysis, is available online.

*Hurricane Sandy had no discernable effect on the employment and unemployment data for October.


 

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