For the third straight month, the unemployment rate held at 9.6% with the number of unemployed people remaining unchanged at 14.8 million, according to the October Employment Situation Summary released last Friday by the BLS. The report showed a positive increase in total non-farm employment by 151,000 jobs and an increase in private sector employment by 159,000 in October, the most rapid increase since April. Revised numbers for August and September show that 110,000 fewer jobs were lost than previously estimated.
Temporary jobs increased by 35,000 in October, which is an indicator that companies are beginning to hire again. Healthcare jobs continue to increase, with 24,000 jobs added last month. Seasonal hiring continues to grow with retail jobs increasing by 28,000, including automobile dealers and jobs in electronics and appliance stores, as well as an increase in employment in food and beverage jobs, with 24,000 positions added. Government employment was little changed, though local government jobs (excluding education) decreased by 14,000 and another 5,000 census workers concluded their employment.
About 2.6 million people were marginally attached to the workforce in October, up about 100,000 since September. Marginally attached individuals were not in the workforce and available for work, but were not counted as unemployed because they had not searched for jobs in the four weeks prior to the survey. In addition, among the marginally attached were 1.2 discouraged workers, who are not currently looking for work because they believe there are no jobs available for them.
Although the unemployment rate remained the same for the third straight month, it has not increased. The addition of private sector jobs and the increase in seasonal hiring shows signs of a slow economic recovery.