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Job Numbers Continue to Show Improvement

Unemployment sign economyOnly a few days after the voting booth sent a very clear message that voters don’t think the economy is getting any better, the latest jobs report indicate that is actually is improving. The number released on Friday state that an estimated 214,000 jobs were added in October, according to the Labor Department. Also the jobless rate dropped to 5.8%, which is down significantly from the 7.2% from October of last year.

This latest monthly increase, as well as the addition of 31,000 new jobs for the number of August and September, put the average monthly gain in employment at 235,000 for the last six months. This is an indication according to analysts that the economy is improving and gaining momentum.

There were also improvement in other job measures. More than 683,000 people said that they found a job in October, according to a separate report from the Labor Department. The average number of weekly hours worked went up and the number of people abandoning the search for a job went down.

The biggest disappointing factor was lack of wage growth. Hourly average earnings have been essentially the same, rising 0.1% in October and there was no gain in September. Wages have only gone up by 2% for the year, which is barely ahead of the inflation rate. That lack of growth will most likely cause the Federal Reserve to continue putting off any increase in interest rates.

Even with the stall in wage growth, several economists are optimistic about the numbers presented. Carl Tannenbaum, chief economist for the Northern Trust Co, said “Labor force participation actually rose (to 62.8%). We didn’t see a drop in employment because people dropped out of the workforce.” Tannenbaum also noted that there has been a significant decrease in job seekers who are frustrated or have given up hope of finding work.

The American people don’t seem quite so optimistic however as exit polls on Election Day showed that 78% of those surveyed were worried about the direction of the economy and two thirds said the economy was getting worse.

This latest jobs report represents 56 consecutive months of private sector growth.


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