October Employment Report

The latest from BLS is out:

Nonfarm payroll employment rose by 166,000 in October, and the unemployment rate was unchanged at 4.7 percent, the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor reported today. Job gains occurred in professional and business services, health care, and leisure and hospitality. Manufacturing employment continued to decline, and construction employment was little changed.

Good news from the payroll survey but not so fast about that claim this job growth was strong enough to keep the unemployment rate from rising:

Total employment, at 146.0 million, was about unchanged in October. The employment-population ratio – 62.7 percent – was little changed in October but was down from its recent peak of 63.4 percent in December. The civilian labor force, at 153.3 million in October, and the labor force participation rate, at 65.9 percent, were essentially unchanged from September.

The employment to population ratio fell from 62.9% in September to 62.7% in October as the household survey recorded an employment decline of 250,000. The labor force participation rate also feel from 66% in September to 65.9% in October. Remember a few years ago when the National Review cheerleaders kept telling us how the household survey was the better measure of the labor market? Betcha they are not saying that today.

Update: Michael Grynbaum calls this employment report “mixed”:

Two distinctly different views of the economy emerged today in a single report: the crucial employment survey issued by the Labor Department. The economy added 166,000 jobs in October, the fastest pace in five months, according to employers. Payrolls grew at a pace more than twice what analysts had predicted, led by a sharp increase in the service sector. But a survey of consumers showed that fewer Americans were employed last month over all. The labor force shrank by 211,000 jobs, and 465,000 Americans said they were no longer working.

It is good to see that at least one report beyond the first paragraph of the report.