US adds 150k jobs in October

The U.S. economy added 150,000 jobs, and the unemployment rate rose to 3.9 percent in October, according to data released Friday by the Labor Department.

The October jobs report fell short of expectations after economists projected the U.S. to add roughly 170,000 jobs and maintain a jobless rate of 3.8 percent.

Manufacturing jobs declined by 35,000 in October, “reflecting a decline of 33,000 in motor vehicles and parts that was largely due to strike activity,” the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) said.

There were 48,100 workers on strike last month, according to the BLS. More than half of those striking workers — 25,300 — were part of the United Auto Workers (UAW) union strike against Ford, General Motors (GM) and Stellantis, a walkout that stretched six weeks.

The UAW reached tentative agreements with each of the “Big Three” automakers at the end of October. Union members still need to vote on the agreements, which include substantial wage increases.

Those wage increases aren’t captured in the Labor Department’s latest data, which shows average hourly wages rose 4.1 percent year-over-year in October.

Average hourly earnings for private nonfarm workers ticked up 7 cents, or 0.2 percent, to $34.

“With less heat seen in the job market, this report should go over well at the Federal Reserve, which has been keeping the threat of a rate increase alive even as it has opted not to pull the interest rate raising lever at the past two meetings,” Mark Hamrick, senior economic analyst at Bankrate, said.

The Fed announced Wednesday it would pause interest rates for the second straight meeting. The central bank has been looking to see “cooling” in the labor market as it fights to bring inflation down to its 2 percent target.

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