The U.S. Added 261,000 Jobs in October; Here’s the Upshot
Economists recommended setting aside both the September and October reports and instead focusing on the longer-term picture. The United States has been adding about 170,000 jobs a month this year, the slowest pace since 2010 but still a rate most economists consider fundamentally healthy.
The unemployment rate, meanwhile, fell yet again to 4.1 percent, its lowest level since 2000. The labor force shed 765,000 workers in October, but most economists dismissed the drop as a correction after four straight months of gains.
“The trend is rock-solid,” said Ryan Sweet, director of real-time economics at Moody’s Analytics. “The labor market just continues to chug along, and it’s showing very little evidence of slowing.”
Indeed, there are signs that the economy as a whole is gaining strength. Last week, the government reported that gross domestic product rose at a 3 percent annual rate in the third quarter, the second-straight quarter of solid growth. Consumer spending, the dominant driver of economic growth in recent years, has stayed strong: Retail sales posted a big gain in September, and consumer confidence hit a nearly 17-year high this week.
But consumers are no longer alone in driving the economy forward. Stronger global growth (along with a weaker dollar) has led to higher demand for American goods and services in recent months, aiding the manufacturing sector and increasing exports.
“It’s finally feeling like the economy is starting to fire on multiple cylinders rather than relying solely on consumers,” said Brett Ryan, an economist at Deutsche Bank in New York.