Young female african american job seeker shaking hands with employer.

After a few months of slowed growth, nonfarm payroll employment increased by 531,000 jobs in October, according to the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In addition, September’s job gain was revised from the 194,000 initially reported to 312,000.

The unemployment rate inched down from 4.8% to 4.6% in October, representing 7.4 million people.

Little change in unemployment rates across major worker groups

For the most part, unemployment rates for major worker groups either decreased or were unchanged in October. Rates increased slightly for adult women and teenagers.

  • Adult men: 4.3% (4.7% in September)
  • Adult women: 4.4% (4.2% in September)
  • Teenagers: 11.9% (11.5% in September)
  • Black/African American: 7.9% (7.9% in September)
  • Hispanic/Latino: 5.9% (6.3% in September)
  • Asian: 4.2% (4.2% in September)
  • White: 4.0% (4.2% in September)

Unemployment inches down as pandemic impacts lessen

The number of permanent job losers edged down to 2.1 million people in October, while temporary layoffs stayed at about 1.1 million. Long-term unemployment (27 weeks or  longer) fell 357,000 to 2.3 million, accounting for 31.6% of the total unemployed. The labor force participation rate remained at 61.6% for the month.

The pandemic’s influence on employment situations ease up a bit in October — fewer employees teleworked for the month, declining from 13.2% to 11.6%, and those unable to work because of business closure or loss dropped from 5.0 million to 3.8 million people. About 1.3 million people reported that they were unable to look for work due to the pandemic, down from 1.6 million.

More leisure and hospitality jobs, fewer in education

Leisure and hospitality employment added 164,000 jobs in October, after rising by 88,000 jobs in September. Most of the latest job gains (119,000) were in food services and drinking places.

Other industries with job growth for the month included:

  • Professional and business services (100,000)
  • Manufacturing (60,000)
  • Transportation and warehousing (54,000)
  • Construction (44,000)
  • Health care (37,000)
  • Retail trade (35,000)

Local and state education employment continued to decline in October, losing 43,000 and 22,000 jobs, respectively. 

Following substantial increases over the past six months, average hourly earnings for nonfarm employees jumped another $0.11 to reach $30.96 in October. Hourly wages have gone up 4.9% within the past year.

Overall, job gains for the month surpassed economists’ predictions of 450,000 and steered the labor market back toward steady recovery.