October Employment Numbers Analysis: Jobs Added, Unemployment Slightly Up

The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ latest employment summary shows a rise of 204,000 jobs in October, with a slight change in the unemployment rate to 7.3 percent. Brookings experts are looking at the numbers now, with special attention to the effect of the government shutdown.

Justin Wolfers writes of the “
hazards and head fakes
” in the report on Bloomberg:

The October employment report seems, at first glance, to tell a very strong story, and it could be good news — perhaps very good news. But given the asterisk next to today’s numbers, anything more than cautious optimism is getting ahead of the data.

Gary Burtless writes that the “survey of employers delivered the reassuring news that job gains remain strongly positive and on an even keel” while “the household survey served up a giant helping of bad news.” Read more in his Job Numbers blog post.

Gerald Cohen puts today’s numbers into the context of whether the Federal Reserve may decide in December to taper its bond-buying program:

… private employment jumped 212,000 and upward revisions to August and September added an additional 60,000 jobs. All of this suggests a much more resilient economy than many had expected and likely puts Fed tapering back on the table. Fortunately for the Fed there is lots of time and data releases to chew on between now and the December 17-18 FOMC meeting, including the November employment report. If this data confirms the strength exhibited by today’s employment report, the markets may get the lump of coal they fear. Whether the fear of tapering amidst a stronger economy is justified will be left for a future discussion.

Cohen has a much more detailed analysis of the numbers on the Job Numbers Blog.

Follow @JustinWolfers for his ongoing analysis of the data, a sample of which appears below.

Look for additional analysis of the monthly job numbers on the Job Numbers Blog.