October's Stellar Jobs Report Just Doesn't Matter

You would think the entire world has come to a halt ahead of and after the election, but the globe is still turning and businesses still managed to hire people ahead of the election. They actually hired more people than expected in October.

The U.S. Department of Labor released its Employment Situation report on Friday. It showed that 638,000 nonfarm payrolls were added in October, and the official unemployment rate fell handily to 6.9%.

Econoday had its consensus unemployment rate estimate at 7.7%, down from 7.9% in September. The consensus estimate for payrolls was just 575,000, and that was down from 672,000 in September.

While the payrolls may have been ahead of expectations in total, the private sector payrolls report was up at 906,000. Econoday had only been expecting 650,000 from the private sector, and the September report was revised up to 892,000 from 877,000.

Employees worked longer and made more in October. Average hourly earnings rose 0.1% from the prior month, but that was up 4.5% from October of 2019. The average workweek also rose to 34.8 hours in October from 34.7 hours in September.

While overpaid government employees saw their number of jobs drop in October, big gains were seen in construction, professional services and retail. Gains even were seen in the economically sensitive leisure and hospitality sector.

The number of unemployed persons fell by 1.5 million to 11.1 million. Another sign of good news was that unemployment rates declined among all major worker groups in the month of October. The unemployment group by demographics was seen as follows:

  • Adult men, 6.7%
  • Adult women, 6.5%
  • Teenagers, 13.9%
  • Whites, 6.0%
  • Hispanics, 8.8%
  • Blacks, 10.8%
  • Asians, 7.6%

Among the total number of unemployed people, those temporarily layoff fell by 1.4 million to 3.2 million. This was down from a high of 18.1 million in April, but it is still 2.4 million higher than in February. The Bureau of Labor Statistics report further said:

In October, the number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) increased by 1.2 million to 3.6 million, accounting for 32.5 percent of the total unemployed. By contrast, the number of unemployed persons jobless 15 to 26 weeks decreased by 2.3 million to 2.6 million, and the number of persons jobless 5 to 14 weeks decreased by 457,000 to 2.3 million. The number of persons who were jobless less than 5 weeks was about unchanged at 2.5 million.

Wall Street probably didn’t even bother to pay attention to Friday’s great jobs report. Right now it is all about the election and vote counting.