The economy added 171,000 new jobs in October—the 32nd straight month of positive job growth—according to figures released this morning by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The nation’s unemployment rate was essentially unchanged at 7.9%, up slightly from September’s 7.8%. The labor force grew by more than half a million workers in October, which is a positive sign, as more workers are seeking and finding jobs. The number of discouraged and involuntary part-time workers has fallen since last year.
The newly created jobs exceeded most economists’ predictions of 100,000 to 125,000 new jobs for the month. Also, September payrolls were revised to a gain of 148,000 from an initially reported 114,000, and August to 192,000 from 142,000.
The biggest gains were in professional and business services (51,000 jobs), health care (31,000) and retail trade (36,000). Construction employment increased by 17,000 jobs and manufacturing employment by 13,000.
Jobless rate for adult men was 7.3%—down from 8.7% a year ago—and for adult women, 7.2%, down from 7.9% last October. The unemployment rate for African American workers rose to 14.3% from September’s 13.4%. The jobless rate for teenagers (23.7%), Hispanics (10%) and white workers (7%) showed little change from the previous month.
The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) was unchanged at 5 million.