US Bureau of Labor Statistics

The overall unemployment rate fell by one tenth of a percent in October , to 4.1 percent, as reported by the US Department of Labor. It was 4.8 percent a year ago in October 2016.

The civilian labor force participation rate fell by four tenths of a percent in October, to 62.7 percent. This is the largest one month decline in the participation rate since October of 2013.

The employment-population ratio fell by two tenths of a percent to 60.2 percent in October. Despite the decline in October, the employment-population ratio has been steadily increasing since July 2011.*

Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 261,000 in October. The payroll employment numbers for both August and September of 2017 were adjusted. Employment gains for those months are now 90,000 higher than previously reported.

The unemployment rate for individuals with at least a bachelor’s degree fell by three tenths of a percent to 2.0 percent in September. This marks the lowest rate since February of 2008, although the rate for individuals with at least a bachelor’s degree has not significantly changed since March 2015.

*It should be noted that as of January 2016, updated population estimates are being utilized when calculating employment data. BLS did not modify previous months utilizing the new estimates, so if comparing data from 2016 to earlier months, understand that there will be slight differences in the way the data was derived.

Some details directly from the BLS report:


Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 261,000 in October, after changing little in September (+18,000). Employment in food services and drinking places increased sharply over the month, mostly offsetting a decline in September that largely reflected the impact of Hurricanes Irma and Harvey. In October, employment also increased in professional and business services, manufacturing, and health care.

Employment in food services and drinking places rose sharply in October (+89,000), following a decrease of 98,000 in September when many workers were off payrolls due to the hurricanes.

Professional and business services added 50,000 jobs in October, about in line with its average monthly gain over the prior 12 months.

Manufacturing employment rose by 24,000 in October, with job gains in computer and electronic products (+5,000) and chemicals (+4,000). Employment in fabricated metals continued to trend up (+4,000). Manufacturing has added 156,000 jobs since a recent employment low in November 2016.

Health care added 22,000 jobs in October. Employment in ambulatory health care services continued to trend up over the month (+16,000). Health care has added an average of 24,000 jobs per month thus far in 2017, compared with an average gain of 32,000 per month in 2016.

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 average workweek for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls was unchanged at 34.4 hours in October. In manufacturing, the workweek increased by 0.2 hour to 41.0 hours, and overtime edged up by 0.1 hour to 3.5 hours. The average workweek for production and nonsupervisory employees on private nonfarm payrolls edged up by 0.1 hour to 33.7 hours.

Average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls, at $26.53, were little changed in October (-1 cent), after rising by 12 cents in September. Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings have increased by 63 cents, or 2.4 percent. In October, average hourly earnings of private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees, at $22.22, were little changed (-1 cent).