The jobless rate last month edged down to 4.1%, the lowest reading since December 2000. That low rate, however, reflects that fewer Americans were working or seeking work during the month. The labor-force participation rate slipped to 62.7% from 63.1% in September. The prior month’s reading was the highest in years—and the participation rate slipped in October back to a level recorded this spring.
U.S. employers added 261,000 jobs to payrolls in September—the best pace of monthly pace of hiring in more than a year. Employment rose sharply in food services and drinking places, mostly offsetting a decline in September that largely reflected the impact of hurricanes Irma and Harvey, the Labor Department said. Hiring last month also improved in business services, manufacturing and health care.
Average hourly earnings slipped by a penny to $26.53 in October. It was disappointing showing for wages, which had appeared to break out the prior month. From a year earlier, hourly pay rose a lackluster 2.4% in October. Many economists are waiting to see wages rise at a faster pace given the historically low unemployment rate.
Payroll growth was significantly stronger than previously estimated in recent months. Upward revisions showed 90,000 more jobs were added to payrolls in August and September than previously reported. September hiring was revised to a gain of 18,000 from an initial estimate of down 33,000. That keeps intact the longest stretch of consistent job creation on Labor Department record.
A broad measure of unemployment and underemployment known as the U-6, which includes people stuck in part-time jobs and others, was 7.9% in October. That was the lowest monthly reading since 2006.The rate has been declining this year in concert with the narrower unemployment rate, known to government statisticians as the U-3.