October Occupation

About 261,000 jobs created last month; mildly short of expectations

The Bureau of Labor Statistics released its October jobs report November 3, with generally positive results demonstrating growth but falling slightly short of expectations from Wall Street.

About 261,000 jobs were created in October, mildly short of the expectations set at 310,000. This comes after a modest report in September of +18,000.

The manufacturing sector added 24,000 jobs, adding another chunk to a total of 156,000 manufacturing jobs added since November 2016. The sector’s primary job gains came in computer and electronic products (+5,000), chemicals (+4,000), and fabricated metals (+4,000). Employment in other major industries, including mining, construction, wholesale trade, retail trade, transportation and warehousing, information, financial activities, and government, changed little in October.

The hospitality industry (hotel, food and beverage) saw the largest increase in jobs created, adding 89,000, a figure that can be attributed to rebounds in areas hit hard by hurricane season, according to the report summary.

The health care sector was another marginal winner, increasing by 22,000.

The unemployment rate edged down by 0.1 percentage point to 4.1 percent in. The number of unemployed persons decreased by 281,000 to 6.5 million. Since January, the unemployment rate has declined by 0.7 percentage point, and the number of unemployed persons has decreased by 1.1 million.

Factory index ends landmark run; remains strong

Meanwhile, the ISM (Institute for Supply Management) released its monthly factory index November 1. The report said its index of national factory activity fell to 58.7 from 60.8 the month before. The ever-so-slight decrease (which is likely skewed by the effects of major hurricanes, as well, according to many experts) ended a 13-month run that marked the index’s highest ever rate. A reading above 50 indicates expansion in the manufacturing sector and a reading below 50 indicates contraction.

Comments from the panel, which is made up of the nation’s supply executives, reflected ‘expanding business conditions’. New orders, production, employment, order backlogs and export orders all continued to grow in October. Supplier deliveries continued to slow and inventories contracted during the period. Prices remained under pressure.

16 of 18 industries reported growth in October, led by paper products, nonmetallic minerals and machinery. These were, in the following order: Paper Products; Nonmetallic Mineral Products; Machinery; Transportation Equipment; Wood Products; Food, Beverage & Tobacco Products; Miscellaneous Manufacturing; Petroleum & Coal Products; Plastics & Rubber Products; Textile Mills; Chemical Products; Computer & Electronic Products; Fabricated Metal Products; Furniture & Related Products; Electrical Equipment, Appliances & Components; and Primary Metals. Two industries reported the same level of activity as September.

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