October 2010 Jobs Report Better than Expected with Private Sector Employment Rising 159,000 and Increase of 151,000 Jobs Overall

By Thomas Ahearn, ESR News Blog

The U.S. economy added 151,000 jobs overall in October 2010, and private-sector payroll employment rose by 159,000 over the month, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported.

According to the BLS report – “THE EMPLOYMENT SITUATION – OCTOBER 2010” – nonfarm payroll employment increased by 151,000 in October and has risen by 874,000 since December 2009.

In addition, private-sector payroll employment rose by 159,000 over the month, the best figures since April 2010, and employment in the private sector has risen by 1.1 million since December 2009.

However, despite the fact that jobs were added to the economy, the unemployment rate remained unchanged at 9.6 percent in October – and has been essentially unchanged since May 2010 – while the number of unemployed persons was also little changed at 14.8 million during the month.

The total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 151,000 in October, reflecting job gains in mining and a number of service-providing industries. More specifically:

  • Mining: Employment in Mining continued to trend up with a gain of 8,000 job over the month, and has added 88,000 jobs since October 2009.
  • Professional and business services: Employment in temporary help services increased by 35,000 in October, and has added 451,000 jobs since September 2009. Employment in computer systems design and related services increased by 8,000 in October and has risen by 53,000 since June 2009.
  • Health care: Health care services continued to add jobs with a gain of 24,000 in October, which was in line with the average increase of 20,000 over the prior 12 months.
  • Retail trade: Retail trade employment rose by 28,000 in October, including an increase of 6,000 in automobile dealers and 5,000 in electronics and appliance stores. Overall, employment in retail trade has expanded by 128,000 since December 2009.
  • Food and Services: The food services industry has added 143,000 jobs since December 2009, but within Leisure and Hospitality, a job loss of 26,000 jobs in arts, entertainment, and recreation in October offset a gain of 24,000 jobs in food services and drinking places employment.

Elsewhere in the private sector, employment in manufacturing, construction, wholesale trade, transportation, information, and financial activities showed little change in October.

Government employment overall was also little changed in October, although employment in local government – excluding education – decreased by 14,000 over the month and has fallen by 123,000 over the past 12 months.

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