Employment in October better than expected, 204,000 jobs added

Given the partial shutdown of the federal government in October, many analysts and commentators were expecting dreary data in the employment report, which was released a week late because of the temporary layoffs.

But the numbers looked pretty good. From the Bureau of Labor Statistics:

Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 204,000 in October, and the unemployment rate was little changed at 7.3 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Employment increased in leisure and hospitality, retail trade, professional and technical services, manufacturing, and health care.

Household Survey Data

Both the number of unemployed persons, at 11.3 million, and the unemployment rate, at 7.3 percent, changed little in October. Among
the unemployed, however, the number who reported being on temporary layoff increased by 448,000. This figure includes furloughed federal employees who were classified as unemployed on temporary layoff under the definitions used in the household survey.

There’s no doubt that much of this data was impacted by the shutdown, and there is always considerable noise month-to-month in the establishment and household surveys. Still, those 204,000 jobs look pretty good, especially since federal government employment declined by 12,000 in October — a significant drag on the economy.

Check out this morning’s post by Calculated Risk for a much broader look at the data than I can possibly give here.

It will be interesting to see November’s numbers in a few weeks. It’s possible that the Fed could start tapering early in 2014 if the data continue to look solid.