Final Pre-Election Jobs Report Beats Expectations
Posted at 7:45 a.m. on Nov. 2, 2012
The Bureau of Labor Statistics released its jobs report for October, showing an increase of 171,000 jobs and the unemployment rate “essentially unchanged” at 7.9%. The consensus was for an increase of 125,000, with unemployment at 7.9%.
Check this post throughout the day for reactions and analysis.
The report included this note on Hurricane Sandy: “ Hurricane Sandy had no discernable effect on the employment and unemployment data for October. Household survey data collection was completed before the storm, and establishment survey data collection rates were within normal ranges nationally and for the affected areas.”
FT Alphaville: “The 171,000 increase in payrolls is a solid number and better than expected, but the upward revisions to the prior two months, a combined 84,000 jobs, is at least as big deal… remember both that upward revisions to previous months tend to be followed by more such revisions, and that the initial headline payroll number roughly tends to underestimate job gains during expansions.”
Greg Ip: “America’s jobless rate edged up to 7.9% in October from 7.8% in September. For a change, that is not a reason for despair, because it rose for the right reason – more people are looking for work – and because it corroborates other signs of healing in the labour market, including last month’s sharp and unexpected fall in unemployment… The rise in the unemployment rate was welcome in part because it wasn’t bigger. Last month it plunged to 7.8%, from 8.1% in August, driven by an eye-popping jump in the household measure of employment.”
Brad Plumer: “the last three months do suggest that the U.S. labor market is on an upward trajectory. Unless Congress fails to avert the fiscal cliff and throws the economy back into recession in January, this is another indication that…whoever wins the presidential election next week will likely get to take credit for the recovery that’s now underway.”
Matthew Yglesias: “The initial read on August was dismal, but now that it’s been revised twice it looks great at 192,000 extra jobs. Initial estimates of the employment level come with a 95 percent confidence interval of plus or minus 100,000 jobs which means that the initial estimate of the change in the employment level is incredibly fuzzy.”
Bill McBride: “Some of this reported increase might be related to distorted seasonal factors (distorted by the severe recession). This was the third year in a row with weaker payroll growth in the summer, and it might be helpful to look at the year-over-year growth… The economy has only added 1.55 million private sector payroll jobs over the first nine months of the year. At this pace, the economy would only add 1.9 million private sector jobs in 2012; less than the 2.1 million added in 2011.”