As Delta Subsides, U.S. Job Growth Rebounds in October

November 05, 2021

With the Delta Variant receding and the holiday season approaching, U.S. job growth ticked up in October with 531,000 new employees on payrolls and the unemployment rate dropping to 4.6%.

The number of workers applying for first-time unemployment benefits dropped to a pandemic-low 269,000, down 14,000 from the previous week but still far above the pre-pandemic average of 218,000. 

Notable job gains occurred in leisure and hospitality (+164,000), professional and business services (+100,000), manufacturing (+60,000), and transportation and warehousing (+54,000).

However, the number of persons not in the labor force who currently want a job remained steady from the previous month at 6.0 million.

Average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls increased by 0.4% to $30.96, following large increases in the prior 6 months.

Outlook: The economy is still 4.2 million jobs down from where it was in February 2020, with over 10 million unfilled jobs last month.  With the labor force participation rate unchanged over the month at 61.6%, employers will continue to be hard pressed to make up the difference.