Job Market Update: October 2016

Job growth continues its positive trend, adding 161,000 jobs in October. Once again, the unemployment rate is 4.9%. 

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This image and all data supporting this monthly blog post is provided by the BLS Regional and State Unemployment Report and the BLS Employment Situation Summary.

As economic indicators go, this one underscores the health of the current employment situation. Healthcare, business and professional services continue to comprise the largest percentage of growth.

The average hourly earnings jumped up by 10 cents to $25.92. Just in case you missed it there was an 8 cent increase in September. A slow and steady rise that is increasing over time is a great sign for the economy.

This month revisions are a sign of even more growth. August’s reported employment growth was revised from +167,000 to +176,000. October’s growth increased from +156,000 to +191,000. Overall that is a net difference of +44,000 jobs. This brings that average growth over the past three months to 176,000 jobs per month.

In Your Industry

Though job growth is still trending positively, the rate of growth seems to have slowed. There were 161,000 employment opportunities added to the economy in October. Most sectors experienced little or no growth, with the exception of Healthcare, finance and business/professional services.

Construction trended positively, given the loss it suffered over the year, adding 11,000 jobs. Specialty trade contracting did well, up by 6,000 positions. Residential building construction was a distant second, adding 2,600.

Manufacturing continues a negative trend, losing 9,000 jobs in October. This is the third consecutive month of job losses. The only subsectors to experience growth were wood products (2,100), nonmetallic mineral production (1,300) and computer and peripheral equipment (400). Machinery took the biggest loss, down by 6,200 jobs.

Retail trade downsized a bit in October (-1,100). While most subsectors experienced moderate growth adding thousands of jobs, that growth was offset by strong losses in electronic/appliance stores (-10,900) and clothing/accessory stores (-15,600). Motor vehicle/parts dealers (+5,200) and General merchandise stores (+9,800) helped create balance, preventing the sector from more significant downsizing.

Transportation and warehousing added 7,500 jobs in August. Top contributors to growth include warehousing and storage (+3,300), truck transportation (+3,000) and air transportation (+2,500). Only a couple of subsectors lost employment opportunities.

Professional and business services contributed a significant number of jobs to the economy, adding 43,000 new positions. Most sectors grew in October. The subsectors up by the most include, computer systems design and related services (+8,300), employment services (+8,100) and services to buildings/dwellings (+7,200). Very few subsectors experienced decreases. The most significant of those occurred in business support services (-2,600).

Education and health services’ growth outpaced professional and business services, up by 52,000. Educational services account for 13,500 jobs. Health care and social services account for all the remaining increases. Ambulatory services added 18,500 new jobs while hospitals added 12,700. Nursing and residential care facilities continued a downward trend, eliminating 700 positions. Social assistance itself added 8,600, most in individual and family services.  

Hospital added 12,700 jobs in October.

Leisure and hospitality saw an expansion of 10,000 jobs in October. Food and drinking places buoyed that number, up by 9,900 jobs. A loss of 3,600 accommodation jobs was offset by 3,900 more jobs in art/ entertainment.

Temporary help services is up by 6,400 positions.

In Your Region

Unemployment rates increased significantly in 1 state, decreased in 7 and remained the same in 42 and the District of Columbia. When compared to the previous year, 6 states have seen an increase in employment while 4 have seen a decrease. The other 40 states and the District of Columbia experienced no significant changes.

In September, there was only one region with an unemployment rate significantly different that the national average. The Midwest had an unemployment rate of 4.6%. This is great news for the West, which normally has an unemployment rate that is higher than the national average.

Switching it up a bit, the New England area has the lowest unemployment rate at 4.1%. That spot is typically reserved for the West North Central region (4.2%). Again, the Pacific region had the highest rate, 5.5%. South Dakota (2.9%) and New Hampshire (2.9%) continue to have the lowest jobless rates. Alaska had the highest joblessness rate at 6.9%.

Check out these key regional highlights from the BLS “Regional and State Employment and Unemployment –September 2016" report.

MID-ATLANTIC

The Mid-Atlantic region’s joblessness rate is up .2%, moving from 5.1% to 5.3% month over month. New York’s unemployment rate increased to 5.0% while New Jersey’s held steady at 5.3%. Again, Pennsylvania has the highest rate with 5.7% percent but did not change over the month.

MIDWEST

The Midwest’s unemployment rate moved from 4.5% to 4.6% and was significantly below September’s national average. Though Illinois (5.3%) has the highest joblessness rates in the region, its been steadily decreasing. In September, it held steady at 5.3%.

In September, North Dakota (3.0%), South Dakota (2.9%), Nebraska (3.2%) had the regions lowest rates. Minnesota (4.0), Wisconsin (4.1%), Iowa (4.2) and Kansas (4.4%) all have unemployment rates far lower than the national average. Though Indiana (4.5%), Ohio (4.8%), Missouri (5.2%), and Michigan (4.6%) have higher joblessness rates, each other them is still below the national average. Great news for the Midwest – the region is just about as employed as it gets.

NEW ENGLAND

The New England region’s unemployment rate fell slightly to 4.1%. Vermont (3.3%), New Hampshire (2.9%), Maine (4.1%) and Massachusetts (3.6%) has extremely low unemployment rates. It should be noted that Massachusetts’ unemployment rate is down .3% month over month. To counter low unemployment in most of the region, Connecticut (5.4%) and Rhode Island (5.6%) both have unemployment rates above the national average of 4.9%.

SOUTH

The South’s unemployment increased to 4.8% month-over-month. In September, the West South Central (4.9%) and South Atlantic region’s (4.6%) both had unemployment rates lower than the national average at 4.9%. The East South Central region’s (5.1%) is slightly higher. Arkansas (4.0%) and Virginia (4.0%) have the lowest unemployment rates of the region.

WEST

The West continues to have the highest unemployment rate of any region in the country at 5.2%. Utah (3.4%), Colorado (3.6%), Idaho (3.8%) and Montana (4.3%) have the region’s lowest unemployment rates. While Washington (5.6%), Nevada (5.8%) and New Mexico (6.7%) have some of the highest and are well above the national average.

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