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Paychecks rise to 9-year-high; Unemployment steady at 3.7%

Non-farm payrolls increased by 250,000

The unemployment rate held steady at 3.7% in October, according to the latest Employment Situation Summary report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

According to the report, the number of unemployed persons changed slightly from 6 million in September to 6.1 million in October.

The jobless rates for all other groups, including men at 3.5%, women 3.4%, teenagers at 11.9%, whites at 3.3%, blacks at 6.2%, Asians at 3.2% and Hispanics at 4.4% — these all showed little or no change over the month.

Total non-farm payroll employment increased by 250,000 in October, compared with an average monthly gain of 211,000 over the past 12 months.

The average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls increased by 5 cents to $27.30. Over the year, average hourly earnings have risen by 3.%.

Mortgage industry surveyor for the Mortgage Bankers Association, Joel Kan, said the big news in October jobs report was the annual change in wage growth exceeding 3% for the first time since April 2009.

“Rising wage growth and moderating home price growth will help ease some of the affordability issues that prospective home buyers have faced,” Kan said. “The unemployment rate was 3.7%, still close to 50-year lows, and U.S. payrolls increased by 250,000 jobs in October, but this partly made up for a weak September number.

“We are averaging 212,000 jobs per month in 2018 to date – one of the strongest years for job growth in recent history – and in combination with the low unemployment rate, this will continue to push wage growth higher,” Kan concluded.

The majority of job gains in October can be attributed to an increase in jobs in manufacturing, construction, warehousing, transportation and healthcare.

Here are some of the areas which showed notable changes in October:

  • Employment in manufacturing increased 32,000
  • Employment in construction increased 30,000
  • Employment in transportation and warehousing increased 25,000
  • Employment in healthcare increased 36,000

The average workweek for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose by 0.1 hour to 34.5 hours in October. Chief Economist Danielle Hale said demand for housing is likely to remain strong as workers not only find it easy to have a job but benefit from an increase in income.

“These gains also are spreading throughout the workforce with unemployment rates for teenagers finally improving to the best level since the late 1960s and the Hispanic unemployment rate moving to a new all-time low of 4.4%,” Hale said.

“This broad distribution of employment is paying off in homeownership rates, which ticked up slightly in the last quarter and rose by one percentage for below-median income families in the last year,” Hale continued. “Although political analysis suggests that challengers are favored to win in toss-up elections next week, today's strong job report could give a boost to the incumbents.”

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