US Nonfarm Payroll Increases by 150,000 in October; Unemployment Inches Higher to 3.9%

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported on Friday (11-3-23) that total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 150,000 in October. That is below the average monthly gain of 258,000 over the prior 12 months.

Notable job growth occurred in the following categories:

  • Health care added 58,000 jobs in October, in line with the average monthly gain of 53,000 over the prior 12 months.
  • Government employment increased by 51,000 jobs in October and has returned to its pre-pandemic February 2020 level. Monthly job growth in government averaged 50,000 in the prior 12-month period.
  • Social assistance added 19,000 jobs in October, compared with the average monthly gain of 23,000 over the previous 12-month period.
  • Construction sector employment continued its upward trend in October, gaining 23,000 jobs—above the average monthly gain of 18,000 over the prior 12 months.

Employment was little changed in other major industries, including mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction; wholesale trade; retail trade; financial activities; and other services.

The unemployment rate in October increased 0.1% to a reading of 3.9%, and the number of unemployed persons increased from 6.4 million in September to 6.5 million in October. The BLS highlighted that since their recent lows in April, these measures are up by 0.5 percentage points and 849,000, respectively.

The BLS notes that monthly revisions result from additional reports received from businesses and government agencies since the last published estimate and from recalculations of seasonal factors. As a result, the change in total nonfarm payroll employment for August was revised downward by 62,000 (from 277,000 to 165,000), and the change for September was revised down by 39,000 (from 336,000 to 297,000). With these revisions, employment in August and September combined is 101,000 lower than previously reported.

FEA compiles the Wood Markets News from various 3rd party sources to provide readers with the latest news impacting forest product markets. Opinions or views expressed in these articles do not necessarily represent those of FEA.