Unemployment rate up slightly in October

Notable job gains in health care helped boost non-farm employment by 261,000 in October

The unemployment rate rose to 3.7% in October, up from 3.5% last month, but nonfarm payroll employment increased by 261,000, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Besides health care, professional and technical services and manufacturing also posted notable gains.

Monthly job growth has averaged 407,000 thus far in 2022, compared with 562,000 per month in 2021. In October, notable job gains occurred in health care, professional and technical services, and manufacturing. In October, employment in health care rose by 53,000, with gains in ambulatory health care services (+31,000), nursing and residential care facilities (+11,000), and hospitals (+11,000). So far in 2022, health care employment has increased by an average of 47,000 per month, compared with 9,000 per month in 2021.

The number of unemployed persons rose by 306,000 to 6.1 million. The unemployment rate has been between 3.5% and 3.7% since March.

Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult women (3.4%) and Whites (3.2%) rose in October. The jobless rates for adult men (3.3%), teenagers (11%), Blacks (5.9 %), Asians (2.9%), and Hispanics (4.2%) showed little or no change over the month.

Among the unemployed, the number of permanent job losers changed little at 1.2 million in October,and the number of persons on temporary layoff also changed little at 847,000. The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) was little changed at 1.2 million in October. The long-term unemployed accounted for 19.5% of all unemployed persons.

The labor force participation rate, at 62.2%, and the employment-population ratio, at 60%, were about unchanged in October and have shown little net change since early this year. These measures are 1.2 percentage points below their values in February 2020, prior to the coronavirus pandemic.

The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons was little changed at 3.7 million in October. These individuals, who would have preferred full-time employment, were working part time because their hours had been reduced or they were unable to find full-time jobs.

The number of persons not in the labor force who currently want a job was little changed at 5.7 million in October and remains above its February 2020 level of 5 million. These individuals were not counted as unemployed because they were not actively looking for work during the 4 weeks preceding the survey or were unavailable to take a job.

Among those not in the labor force who wanted a job, the number of persons marginally attached to the labor force was little changed in October at 1.5 million. These individuals wanted and were available for work and had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months but had not looked for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey. The number of discouraged workers, a subset of the marginally attached who believed that no jobs were available for them, decreased by 114,000 to 371,000 in October.

Professional and technical services added 43,000 jobs in October. Employment continued to trend up in management and technical consulting services (+7,000), architectural and engineering services (+7,000), and scientific research and development services (+5,000). Monthly job growth in professional and technical services has averaged 41,000 thus far in 2022, compared with 53,000 per month in 2021.

Manufacturing added 32,000 jobs in October, mostly in durable goods industries (+23,000).

Manufacturing employment has increased by an average of 37,000 per month thus far this year, compared with 30,000 per month in 2021.

Employment in social assistance increased by 19,000 in October and is slightly below (-9,000) its pre-pandemic level in February 2020. Within social assistance, employment in individual and family services continued to trend up in October (+10,000).

Wholesale trade added 15,000 jobs in October. Employment in wholesale trade has increased by an average of 17,000 per month thus far in 2022, compared with 13,000 per month in 2021.

Employment in leisure and hospitality continued to trend up in October (+35,000), with accommodation adding 20,000 jobs. Employment in food services and drinking places changed little over the month (+6,000). Leisure and hospitality has added an average of 78,000 jobs per month thus far this year, less than half of the average gain of 196,000 jobs per month in 2021. Employment in leisure and hospitality is down by 1.1 million, or 6.5 percent, from its February 2020 level.

Employment in transportation and warehousing changed little in October (+8,000). Within the industry, job growth occurred in truck transportation (+13,000), couriers and messengers (+7,000), and air transportation (+4,000). These gains were partially offset by a job loss in warehousing and storage (-20,000). Monthly job growth in transportation and warehousing has averaged 25,000 thus far this year, compared with 36,000 per month in 2021.

In October, financial activities employment was little changed (+3,000). Within the industry, job gains in insurance carriers and related activities (+9,000) and in securities, commodity contracts, and investments (+5,000) were partially offset by a job loss in rental and leasing services (-8,000). Employment in financial activities has changed little over the past 6 months.

Employment changed little over the month in other major industries, including mining, construction, retail trade, information, other services, and government.

In October, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose by 12 cents, or 0.4%, to $32.58. Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings have increased by 4.7%. In October, average hourly earnings of private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees rose by 9 cents, or 0.3%, to $27.86.

In October, the average workweek for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls was 34.5 hours for the fifth month in a row. In manufacturing, the average workweek for all employees was little changed at 40.4 hours, and overtime decreased by 0.1 hour to 3.1 hours. The average workweek for production and nonsupervisory employees on private nonfarm payrolls held at 34.0 hours.

The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for August was revised down by 23,000, from +315,000 to +292,000, and the change for September was revised up by 52,000, from +263,000 to +315,000. With these revisions, employment gains in August and September combined were 29,000 higher than previously reported. (Monthly revisions result from additional reports received from businesses and government agencies since the last published estimates and from the recalculation of seasonal factors.)