Nonfarm payroll adds 151,000 jobs in October
Nonfarm payroll employment rose considerably higher than analysts were projecting in October by adding 151,000 jobs, although the unemployment level remained 9.6%. The Labor Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics said gains for the month came from the health care and mining sectors, as well as a number of service industries. Analysts surveyed by Briefing.com were expecting an increase of 25,000 jobs for the month. The consensus figure from an Econoday survey was 60,000 new jobs with a range of estimates between a loss of 2,000 to a gain of 97,000. "October's U.S. payrolls report is stronger than expected and, at the margin, reduces the risk we will actually see the unemployment rate edge higher over the coming months," according to Capital Economics senior U.S. economist Paul Ashworth. "Nevertheless, there is still little prospect of any meaningful decline in that unemployment rate, which remains perilously close to 10%." The private sector added 159,000 jobs in October and has created 1.1 million new positions since December, according to the Labor Department data. Analysts were projecting an increase of 64,000 private-sector jobs. Local government shed another 14,000 jobs last month, and has cut 123,000 positions in the past year. Some 5,000 temporary Census workers were relieved of their duty in October. In May, 564,000 people had a temporary Census job. Now just 1,000 of these positions remain on the federal payroll. The Labor Department also significantly revised nonfarm payroll figures for two months prior to October. The August number was changed to a loss of 1,000 jobs from a previously reported loss of 57,000. And the revised loss for September is 41,000 down from the 95,000 job losses reported earlier. "The economy needs to create about 150,000 jobs a month just to keep pace with the additional numbers coming into the labor force, thereby preventing the unemployment rate from rising," Ashworth said. "The problem, however, is that we aren't seeing payroll growth accelerate beyond that threshold, which is why we doubt this report will be causing many Fed officials to regret their decision to launch QE2." Write to Jason Philyaw.