5 Surprises From the October Jobs Report

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It seems a two-and-a-half week shutdown of the federal government was not enough to do any long-term damage to the slowly but steadily recovering American economy. One of the strongest indicators of the health of our economy (and one of the best drivers of economic improvement) is a robust and growing labor force, and according to today’s jobs report from the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the “Employment Situation” in America is not a bad situation at the moment.

5 More Than 200,000 Jobs Were Added in October

According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, employers added no fewer than 204,000 jobs during the month of October. Not only is that a solid, healthy number of its own volition, but it shows a pattern of improvement. If the trend of adding jobs continues, we can expect other factors such as spending and investment to see improvement as well; all ships catch a rising tide of economic recovery.

4 September Was Not as Bad as Economists Initially Thought

When the jobs report for the month of September came out, it was not only weeks late because of the government shutdown, but it was also something of a letdown. Initially, BLS reported that employers had added only around 148,000 jobs to the work force, a gain well below predictions and thus bad news despite added jobs. A reexamining of the data has shown that in fact more than 165,000 jobs were added. The increase is modest, but definite.

3 Seasonal Employment Could Be Record Setting this Year

Every year the weeks surrounding the winter holidays see a surge of jobs added to the labor force in the form of everything from gift wrappers to tree lot workers to “Mall Santas” to warehouse help. And the seasonal hiring this year looks likely to be record setting: Amazon.com alone is planning to hire upwards of 70,000 seasonal workers. These jobs will cause an infusion of cash into the economy in the short term, and can often convert to fulltime employment, adding more permanent workers to the labor force.

2 The October Jobs Report Was Far Better Than Expected

A survey of economists had settled on an average prediction of around 120,000 jobs added to the labor force in October. That number would have pointed to relatively sluggish growth during a lumbering recovery. When the actual statistic was announced by BLS, it announced well over 80,000 more jobs than expected had been added by American employers. The official unemployment rate actually rose by a tenth of a point from September to October, from 7.2% to 7.3%, but even that is good news in its own way: it shows more people are looking for work, which means they are confident they could find it.

1 Stocks and Bonds Actually Dropped After the Jobs Report Was Released

In yet another example of the strange, often inverse relationship shared between the overall economy and the marketplaces, stock prices, the value of gold and bond rates began to fall after the announcement of a solid jobs report. Investors fear that a more robust economy will cause the Fed to taper its $85 billion monthly bond buying program (known as quantitative easing), which could cause the economy to constrict again.

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