The nation’s unemployment rate crept up to 3.9% in October, a slight increase from the 3.8% rate in September, according to preliminary data released Friday by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
U.S. employers added 150,000 jobs to payrolls in October, a slower pace than September’s downwardly revised 257,000 jobs and below the average monthly gain of 258,000 jobs over the past six months.
Industry sectors that recorded the strongest hiring were healthcare (+58,000), government (+51,000) and social services (+19,000). Construction employment also trended upward in October (+23,000). Manufacturing had 35,000 fewer jobs in October due largely to the United Autoworkers strike. Most other major industry sectors showed little change over the month.
Both the labor force participation rate, at 62.7%, and the employment-population ratio, at 60.2%, changed little in October. The employment-population ratio measures the percentage of the working-age population with jobs and the labor force participation rate captures both those who have jobs and those who are actively looking for work.
In October, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose by 7 cents, or 0.2% to $34. Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings have increased by 4.1%.
The S&P 500, Dow industrials and Nasdaq Composite all rose higher after the BLS Employment Situation report was released on Friday morning.
The October jobs report showing a slowdown in hiring, a slight rise in unemployment and relatively slow wage growth is also likely to viewed favorably by the Federal Reserve, which has been trying to cool the economy and tame inflation with a series of interest rate increases that began in March 2020.
At its last meeting earlier this week, the Fed opted to hold the target effective federal funds interest rate steady at 5.25% – 5.25%, which is still a 22-year high, and will revisit interest rates again at its December meeting.