USA Unemployment Rate Fell to 6.9% in October

November 10, 2020

Total nonfarm payroll employment climbed 638,000 in October, as the unemployment rate fell to 6.9%, according to a report by the U.S. Bureau of Labour Statistics (BLS). The improved performance was due to the continued resumption of economic activity that had been curtailed due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and efforts to contain it. BLS mentioned that in October, “notable job gains occurred in leisure and hospitality, professional and business services, retail trade, and construction. Employment in government declined.”

Leisure and hospitality employment increased by 271,000 in October 2020. While in the retail trade, employment rose by 104,000. Notably, employment in professional and business services climbed by 208,000 jobs in October. Employment in construction rose by 84,000 in October. Employment in health care and social assistance rose by 79,000. Whereas, employment in transportation and warehousing added 63,000 jobs, other services went up by 47,000 jobs, manufacturing employment added 38,000 jobs, financial activities increased by 31,000 jobs, the government decreased 268,000 jobs while construction employment rose by 84,000 jobs in October. Employment in mining, wholesale trade, and information was little changed in October.

Notably, BLS stated, “the number of persons on temporary layoff decreased by 1.4 million in October to 3.2 million.” In October, the number of permanent job losers was little changed at 3.7 million. Also, the number of unemployed persons who were jobless for 5 to 14 weeks declined by 457,000 to 2.3 million in October. While, the number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) rose by 1.2 million to 3.6 million. Moreover, the number of unemployed persons who were jobless less than 5 weeks in October amounted to 2.5 million.

The labour force participation rate for October rose 0.3 percentage points to 61.7%, while the employment-population ratio rose 0.8 percentage points to 57.4%. Nonetheless, persons employed part-time for economic reasons rose by 383,000 to 6.7 million in October. Based on BLS assessment, “these individuals, who would have preferred full-time employment, were working part time because their hours had been reduced or they were unable to find full-time jobs. This group includes persons who usually work full time and persons who usually work part-time.” In October, the number of persons who usually work full time increased by 1.2 million to 123.6 million, and the number who usually work part time increased by 1.0 million to 26.2 million.

In October, a total of 2.0 million individuals were slightly attached to the labour force. These persons were not in the labour force, wanted and were available for work, and had looked for a job in the last year. Of the marginally attached, 588,000 persons were classified as discouraged workers in October, relatively unchanged over the month. These persons are not currently seeking work as they believe no jobs are available for them.

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