THE BLS October jobs report released this morning showed the national economy is slowly continuing its improvement..
According to the household survey, the unemployment rate dipped down to 5.8%, as did the number of unemployed people to 9.0 million, and the number of employed persons ticked up to 147 million. From a year ago, the unemployment rate is down 1.4 percentage points, while the number of unemployed persons declined by a little over 2 million and the number of employed persons increased by roughly 4 million.
The labor force participation rate remained unchanged at 62.8%, and where it was a year ago. The employment-population rate of 59.2% also remained largely unchanged from last month, but was up 1 percentage point from last year.
Long-term unemployment declined slightly to 2.9 million people out of work for 27 weeks or more, and is down 1.1 million from a year ago. Involuntary part-time work remained unchanged at 7 million, and down roughly 1 million from a year ago. Long trends show that involuntary part-time work is trending down, but still well above pre-recession levels. Similarly, the median duration of employment is down from 16.5 weeks in October, 2013, to 13.7 this past month.
The establishment survey showed the economy added 214,000 jobs, with food services and drinking places accounting for the largest piece of that increase at 42,000. Job gains were broad, as professional and business services (37,000), retail trade (27,000), health care (25,000), manufacturing (15,000), transportation and warehousing (13,000), and construction (12,000) all increased employment from last month
The average work week for all private employees as well as production and non-supervisory workers ticked up slightly from last month, 0.1 hours to 34.6 and 33.8 hours respectively. From last year those hours remain relatively unchanged.
The most watched statistic on this months jobs report was wages. While the labor market has continued to add jobs, wages have remained stagnant. Average hourly earnings for non-supervisory workers ticked up $0.04 from last month, up a total of $0.45 from one year ago; an increase of 2.2%. For total private workers, hourly wages inched up just $0.03 from last month, and $0.49 from a year ago; just a 2% increase. While slightly above inflation, the trend in wage increases has not accelerated as many have predicated would occur as a result of job growth.
While this jobs report comports with longer trends showing a strengthening economy, wages remain stuck.