U.S. Economy Sheds 240,000 Jobs in October

Nonfarm payroll employment fell by 240,000 in October, and the unemployment rate rose from 6.1 to 6.5 percent, the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor reported today.

October's drop in payroll employment followed declines of 127,000 in August and 284,000 in September, as revised.  Employment has fallen by 1.2 million in the first 10 months of 2008; over half of the decrease has occurred in the past 3 months.  In October, job losses continued in manufacturing, construc-tion, and several service-providing industries.  Health care and mining continued to add jobs.

The unemployment rate rose by 0.4 percentage point to 6.5 percent in October, and the number of unemployed persons increased by 603,000 to 10.1 million. Over the past 12 months, the number of unemployed persons has increased by 2.8 mil-lion, and the unemployment rate has risen by 1.7 percentage points.

The unemployment rates for adult men (6.3 percent), adult women (5.3 percent), whites (5.9 percent), and Hispanics (8.8 percent) rose in October.  The jobless rates for teenagers (20.6 percent) and blacks (11.1 percent) were little changed.  The unemployment rate for Asians in October was 3.8 percent, not seasonally ad-justed. 

Among the unemployed, the number of persons who lost their job and did not expect to be recalled to work rose by 615,000 to 4.4 million in October.  Over the past 12 months, the size of this group has increased by 1.7 million. 

Total nonfarm payroll employment fell by 240,000 in October, bringing job losses thus far in 2008 to 1.2 million.  Over the month, employment declines continued in manufacturing, construction, and several service-providing industries, while health care and mining again added jobs.

Manufacturing employment declined by 90,000 over the month.  Some 27,000 aero-space workers in the transportation equipment industry were off payrolls in October due to a strike; taking the strike into account, factory job losses in October were about in line with the prior 2 months.  Within durable goods manufacturing, employ-ment declined in fabricated metal products (-11,000), furniture and related products (-10,000), motor vehicles and parts (-9,000), wood products (-7,000), and computer and electronic products (-4,000).  In the nondurable goods component, job losses occurred in plastics and rubber products (-6,000), apparel (-4,000), and printing and related support activities (-4,000).

Construction employment fell by 49,000 in October, with declines throughout the industry.  Since peaking in September 2006, construction employment has fallen by 663,000, largely in the residential components.

Within professional and business services, the employment services industry shed 51,000 jobs in October.  The pace of job loss in this industry has picked up in 2008, averaging 37,000 per month through October; in 2007, monthly job losses averaged 11,000 in employment services.

Retail trade employment fell by 38,000 in October, with the largest losses occurring among automobile dealers (-20,000) and department stores (-18,000).  Wholesale trade employment was down by 22,000 over the month, with most of the decrease among durable goods wholesalers.

Employment in financial activities declined by 24,000 in October and is down by 200,000 since its peak in December 2006.  Over the month, employment contracted in both credit intermediation and related activities (-12,000) and in securities and investment firms (-6,000).

Health care employment continued to expand in October, with an increase of 26,000.  Over the past 12 months, health care employment has grown by 348,000.  The mining industry added 7,000 jobs in October.  Since a low in April 2003, mining employment has grown by 246,000.

U.S. Economy Sheds 240,000 Jobs in October

TradingEconomics.com, U.S. Department of Labor
11/7/2008 5:45:17 AM