Federal unemployment dips to 4.1% as U.S. adds 261,000 jobs

Written on Nov 15, 2017

The national unemployment rate was 4.1% in October, down from 4.2% in September, as the nation added 261,000 jobs over the month, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

According to BLS, the number of unemployed persons fell by 281,000 in October to 6.5 million. The number of long-term unemployed, or those jobless for 27 weeks or more, was little changed at 1.6 million and accounted for 24.8% of the unemployed. The labor force participation rate fell to 62.7% in October. The number of discouraged workers, or those who gave up looking for work because they didn’t believe they could find a job, rose by 103,000.

BLS said employment in food services and drinking places increased sharply over the month, mostly offsetting a decline in September that largely reflected the effects 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.

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