US Adds 261,000 Jobs In October, Unemployment Rises to 3.7%

The U.S. economy added 261,000 jobs in October, beating estimates of 205,000 jobs.

This number represents a dip from September, which saw an increase of 315,000 jobs, and August, which saw 292,000 jobs added, according to a newly revised figure from the Bureau of Labor Statistics on Friday.

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The unemployment rate rose to 3.7% in October, with 6.1 million unemployed. This was up from September’s rate of 3.5%

Notable job gains were present across health care, professional and technical services and manufacturing. Retail employment did not see any notable uptick or loss from September. Year-to-date, monthly job growth has averaged 407,000, lower than the 562,000 per month average in 2021.

The new jobs numbers come as retailers gear up to hire staff for the holidays. While some companies such as Kohl’s plan to staff for the season similarly to 2021, others such as Walmart are reducing their efforts this year. Overall, the National Retail Federation predicts a slowdown in the number of seasonal workers hired this year. The group expects between 450,000 and 600,000 seasonal hires this year, compared to 669,800 last year.

Average hourly earnings rose by 12 cents, or 0.4%, to $32.58 in October. Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings have increased by 4.7%. Meanwhile, inflation continues to soar while showing some signs of improvement.

Compared to 2021, consumer prices rose by 8.2% in September while total retail sales remained flat at $684 billion. October’s consumer price index, which measures inflation, is set to be released next week.

The strong labor market and rising wages have bolstered consumer spending overall. However, the growth in spending this year has not been as robust as 2021.

“Consumers have become cautious – but they have not stopped spending,” said NRF’s chief economist Jack Kleinhenz in his monthly economic review in October.

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