November 3, 2017

October 2017 Jobs Report

Unemployment Rate: 4.1 percent

Jobs Created:  261,000

Employment and Unemployment

  1. The Department of Labor reported an unemployment rate of 4.1 percent for October, down 0.1 percent from last month. Today’s report shows the lowest unemployment rate since December 2000. 

  2. Today’s jobs report shows an increase of 261,000 nonfarm jobs in October, lower than analysts’ prediction of job growth of 315,000. Employment for August was revised up from 169,000 to 208,000, and September was revised up from -33,000 jobs to an increase of 18,000 jobs.  

  3. With today’s report, the U.S. has created more than 2 million new jobs since President Trump was elected in November 2016. 

  4. Unemployment in October among those ages 16-19 was 13.7 percent, up 0.8 percent from last month. For people of Hispanic or Latino ethnicity, the unemployment rate was 4.8 percent, down from 5.1 percent in September. For African-Americans, the unemployment rate was 7.5 percent, up from 7.0 percent in September.

  5. The number of long-term unemployed, those unemployed for 27 weeks or more, was 1.6 million, down 112,000 from last month. They account for 24.8 percent of the unemployed, down from 25.5 percent in the prior month.

  6. The “real” unemployment or U-6 rate is 7.9 percent, down 0.4 percent from last month. The U-6 figure represents the total percentage of unemployed and underemployed workers. 

  7. The “real” number of unemployed Americans is 12.8 million. These are people who are unemployed (6.5 million), want work but have stopped searching for a job (1.5 million), or are working part time because they cannot find full-time employment (4.8 million).  

  8. In October, employment grew by 88,500 in food service and drinking places; 50,000 in professional and business services; 24,000 in manufacturing; 22,000 in health care; and 11,000 in construction. Government gained 9,000 jobs last month, largely at the federal level. Last month, employment in retail trade fell by 8,300, and in finance and insurance by 5,800.

  9. As stated by the Wall Street Journal, “service-sector employment, which took a major hit in September due to the hurricanes, contributed to the lion’s share of October’s jobs growth.”

  10. Following its most recent meeting earlier this week, the Federal Reserve issued a statement saying: “Information received since the Federal Open Market Committee met in September indicates that the labor market has continued to strengthen and that economic activity has been rising at a solid rate despite hurricane-related disruptions … Hurricane -related disruptions and rebuilding will continue to affect economic activity, employment, and inflation in the near term, but past experience suggests that the storms are unlikely to materially alter the course of the national economy over the medium term. Consequently, the Committee continues to expect that, with gradual adjustments in the stance of monetary policy, economic activity will expand at a moderate pace, and labor market conditions will strengthen somewhat further.”    

  11. At its recent meeting, the Federal Reserve voted to maintain the target range for the federal funds rate at 1 to 1.25 percent, following a rate increase at its June meeting.

  12. The Federal Reserve next meets December 12-13.    

Labor Force Participation

  1. The labor force participation rate is 62.7 percent, down from 63.1 percent last month.

  2. The labor force participation rate remains concerning as many workers stay on the sidelines. Since October 2013, the participation rate has largely been stuck in a narrow range of 62.5 to 63 percent. Prior to the recession, the rate was 66 percent.

  3. The share of American adults with jobs in October was 60.2 percent, down 0.2 percentage points from last month. This is nearly 4 percentage points below its pre-recession peak.  


  1. In October, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls decreased by 1 cent to $26.53. Over the year, average hourly earnings have risen by 2.4 percent.

Issue Tag: Labor