The American economy added 204,000 new jobs in October, but about 90,000 of those jobs were needed just to keep up with population growth, so net job growth clocked in at 114,000. That’s not bad. In addition, revisions to previous months increased previous estimates for August and September by 60,000 new jobs. That’s the good news.
The bad news is that the labor force participation rate fell, and the headline unemployment rate increased from 7.24 percent to 7.28 percent. However, unlike the job growth numbers, this is based on a separate survey that counts furloughed government workers as unemployed, so it’s not very meaningful. It will bounce back down next month.
Overall, then, the news was reasonably good, if not spectacular, but tainted by some artificial job losses due to the shutdown. We’ll have to wait until next month for a clearer picture.