Nonfarm payrolls add 80,000 jobs in October, unemployment at 9%
Nonfarm payroll employment rose in October and the nation's unemployment rate inched lower to 9%. The Labor Department said the economy added 80,000 jobs last month with modest growth in professional and business services, leisure and hospitality, health care and mining, while government jobs continue to trend lower. Analysts surveyed by Econoday expected 90,000 new jobs for October with a range of estimates between 64,000 and 152,000. The Bureau of Labor Statistics said nonfarm payrolls averaged monthly growth of 125,000 the past 12 months. Professional and business services added 32,000 jobs in October and have increased employment by 562,000 the past year. The construction industry shed another 20,000 jobs last month, offsetting September's gain of 27,000 that was largely attributable to nonresidential construction. Government employment fell by 24,000 in October with most of the losses in the non-education sector. Employment in state and local government has been declining since the second half of 2008, according to the Labor Department. Paul Ashworth, chief U.S. economist at Toronto-based Capital Economics, said the employment data for October "has pluses and minuses but, on balance, it is positive." "According to the household survey, the economy has added slightly more than 1 million jobs in the past three months alone. Even allowing for the inherent volatility in the household survey, that is an impressive tally," Ashworth said. The federal agency once again revised gains in nonfarm payrolls for August to a gain of 104,000 from 57,000. The Labor Department initially said no new jobs were added to nonfarm payrolls in August. The initial figure of 103,000 for September was revised to 158,000. In the first quarter, the economy was adding about 220,000 jobs monthly, but nonfarm payroll growth averaged less than 100,000 jobs since April. After climbing to 9.8% in November, the unemployment rate has held steady between 9% and 9.2% since April. The number of unemployed Americans fell slightly in October to 13.9 million from 14 million the prior month, with the long-term unemployed, or those without jobs for 27 weeks or more, dropping by 366,000 to 5.9 million. On Wednesday, Automatic Data Processing Inc. said the private sector added 110,000 jobs in October. TrimTabs Investment Research estimates the economy added 160,000 jobs in October. Write to Jason Philyaw. Follow him on Twitter: @jrphilyaw.