On the heels of a great GDP report last week, the jobs numbers released today by the BLS are disappointing. The good news is that 150,ooo new jobs were added to nonfarm employment. However, since 2020, we have gotten used to much larger increases in employment. For example, in the 12 preceding months, the economy added an average of 258,000 jobs per month. The graph below shows growth in U.S. nonfarm employment since 2021. Clearly, the increases are slowing since days just after COVID-19.
In addition, the unemployment rate ticked up to 3.9% in October (from 3.8% in September) and the labor force participation rate edged down to 62.7 % (from 62.8%). Taken together, this is just not a strong jobs report.
The October numbers may be lower because the survey was taken during major work stoppages — notably the strikes by the United Automobile Workers and related layoffs. Since then, the U.A.W has informed the workers who were on strike to return to their jobs. The union has reached tentative contract agreements with the three major U.S. auto companies.