Job Market Update: October 2017

What's the latest with the unemployment rate? We've got the details and the takeaways.

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Jobs Added

261,000

  • Food Services & Drinking Places

    89,000

  • Construction

    11,000

  • Manufacturing

    24,000

  • Mining

    -2,000

  • Education & Health Services

    41,000

  • Transportation & Warehousing

    8,400

  • Retail Trade

    -8,300

  • Leisure and Hospitality

    106,000

5 Things to know about October’s job report

The unemployment rate sat around 4.1% in October, down just .1% from September. 261,000 jobs were added, a slight miss from the 310,000 that were expected, according to CNBC.

Wages, the most puzzling topic in 2017, fell by a single cent in October, after rising 12 cents in September. Wages only have an annual growth of about 2.4%, causing inflation to also lag, and giving employers little incentive to raise wages, (you can read more about the current state of wages and inflation in this blog post.) An expert told the Wall Street Journal that though the labor market remains on a solid trajectory, it’s still struggling to shift into a higher gear.

Here are 5 Other Things you need to know about October’s job report:

  1. With the unemployment rate sitting at 4.1%, this is the lowest it’s been since December of 2000, according to The New York Times. Since January, the unemployment rate has declined by .7% this year, and 1.1M people who were currently unemployed have found work. 
  2. September was originally reported to be the first month to see payroll loss not just in 2017, but in 7 years. It has since been revised up to state 18,000 jobs were added. This is still a small increase for a month in 2017, which experts believe are due to Hurricanes Harvey and Irma keeping some 1.5 million workers off the job.
  3. Leisure & Hospitality saw the most job increases in October with 106,000 jobs added, up from the 102,000 they lost in September due to the storms. This includes jobs within the arts, entertainment, museums, amusement parts and spectator sports sphere.
  4. Food Services & Drinking Places – which also lost around 100,000 jobs in September– also saw significant increase in October with 89,000 jobs added. A reminder that Puerto Rico, which is still hurting severely from Hurricane Maria, is not counted in the Bureau of Labor Statistics monthly reporting. Here’s how you can help.
  5. Industries that saw little growth in October include construction, transportation and warehousing, and mining. In June of this year, Forbes looked at data from a project co-led by the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Census Bureau to identify the fastest growing industries in the US, with construction ranking as the #1 industry for job growth in 2017. Its possible last month’s slow gain was due to budgets expiring as we near the end of the year; only time will tell if there’s another underlying factor at play.

Job Growth by Industry

October 2017

Unemployment Rate

  • Unemployment Rate

    4.1%

  • Change from Last Month

    -.1%

In Your Region

September 2017

The Bureau of Labor Statistics breaks down the unemployment rate geographically one month behind it’s national breakdown, so this month we’re reviewing September’s regional performance.

The Midwest had the lowest unemployment rate at 3.8%, while the South had the highest at 4.4%.

West

West

  • Unemployment Rate

    4.3%

  • Change from Last Month

    Flat

Lowest and highest unemployment rates

Colorado and Hawaii (2.5%) / Alaska (7.2%)

Midwest

Midwest

  • Unemployment Rate

    3.8%

  • Change from Last Month

    +.1%

Lowest and highest unemployment rates

North Dakota (2.4%) / Ohio (5.3%)

Northeast

Northeast

  • Unemployment Rate

    4.1%

  • Change from Last Month

    -.1%

Lowest and highest unemployment rates

New Hampshire (2.7%) / Delaware and New York (4.9%)

West

South

  • Unemployment Rate

    4.4%

  • Change from Last Month

    -.1%

Lowest and highest unemployment rates

Tennessee (3.0%) / District of Columbia (6.5%)

Why This is So Important

The first predictions for the consumer holiday spending season are here, and according to PwC, holiday spending is expected to rise an average of 6% across the US this year. Despite retail jobs steadily decreasing this year, 90% of consumers will shop in store this holiday, with most combining the best of both in store and online shopping based on what they’re buying and for whom.

This raises an important question for employers looking for holiday workers – will current average wages be enough to help companies find the talent they need to keep up with consumer demand? We saw wages rise last month, and we predict they will rise again in November and December as companies will be left with no choice but to be competitive with pay to onboard the help they need.

If you’re a company worried about the impact the low unemployment rate may have on your ability to find the talent you need as we head into the holiday season, we’ve got the network of people you’re looking for.

Contact us today to learn how we can help.

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