In its monthly job report released Friday morning
, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the private-sector added 212,000 jobs in October, seasonally adjusted. The federal government shed 12,000 jobs, but local and state governments added 4,000, bringing the total gain for the month to 204,000. The official unemployment rate calculated in a separate survey rose slightly to 7.3 percent.
It should be pointed out that because of the government shutdown we're probably not going to get a clean jobs report—that is, one not affected by the shutdown's skewing—until January. So the numbers announced today need to be viewed with even more caution than usual. One skewing of the numbers came from methodology of today's report. The BLS counted furloughed federal workers as unemployed for the household survey from which the jobless rate is determined but as working for the employer survey from which the number of non-farm jobs is calculated.
The seasonally adjusted 148,000 job gain the BLS reported for September was revised to 163,000. The August figures were revised from 193,000 to 238,000.
The labor force fell by 720,000. The employment-population ratio fell to 58.3 percent in October. The labor force participation rate fell to 62.8 percent.
A consensus of experts asked by Bloomberg earlier this week to estimate job growth for October put the expected gain in jobs at 120,000 for the month. But the range among those queries was larger than I've ever seen it, running from a gain of 160,000 to a loss of 300,000. A report by Automated Data Processing released Oct. 30 put the private-sector gains at 130,000. Unlike the BLS, ADP does not count public-sector jobs. Rarely do ADP's and the BLS's numbers mesh.
The BLS reported that the number of officially unemployed Americans is now 11.3 million. That tally leaves out millions of discouraged workers who have given up looking for employment and others who want full-time jobs but can only find part-time work.
Internally, the BLS calls the official unemployment rate—the headline number—U3. But the bureau also calculates a more complete measure called U6. This covers some of the workers that the EPI say have given up looking for a job but still want to work and those Americans working part-time even though they want full-time jobs. That's called "part time for economic reasons." These workers make up the underemployed. In October, U6 rose to 13.8 percent.
The number of long-term unemployed, those out of work for 27 weeks or more, was 4.1 million, accounting for 36.1 percent of the total unemployed.
For more details about today's jobs report and some related charts, please continue reading below the fold.
Here are the official (U3) seasonally adjusted unemployment rates in October for:
African Americans— 13.1 percent
Latinos— 9.1 percent
Asian Americans— 5.2 percent (not seasonally adjusted)
Whites— 6.5 percent
American Indians—Not counted on a monthly basis
Among other news in the October job report:
• Professional services: +44,000
• Transportation and warehousing : 0
• Leisure & hospitality: +53,000
• Health care: +17,500
• Retail trade: +44,400
• Construction: +11,000
• Manufacturing: +19,000
• Average manufacturing hours rose to 40.9 hours.
• Average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose 2 cents from September's revised figure to $24.10.
Here's what the seasonally adjusted job growth numbers have looked like in October for the previous 10 years.
October 2003: +197,000
October 2004: +343,000
October 2005: + 81,000
October 2006: - 3,000
October 2007: + 86,000
October 2008: -472,000
October 2009: -170,000
October 2010: +228,000
October 2011: +166,000
October 2012: +160,000
October 2013: +204,000
The BLS jobs report is the product of a pair of surveys, one of more than 410,000 business establishments called Current Employment Statistics, and one called the Current Population Survey, which questions 60,000 householders each month. The establishment survey determines how many new jobs were added. It is always calculated on a seasonally adjusted basis determined by a frequently tweaked formula. The BLS report only provides a snapshot of what's happening at a single point in time.
It's important to understand that the jobs-created-last-month-numbers that it reports are not "real." Not because of a conspiracy, but because statisticians apply formulas to the raw data, estimate the number of jobs created by the "birth" and "death" of businesses, and use other filters to fine-tune the numbers. And, always good to remember, in the fine print, they tell us that the actual number of newly created jobs reported is actually plus or minus 100,000.