Employers added more than 200,000 workers to payrolls in October for a ninth consecutive month and the jobless rate dropped to the lowest level in six years as the American economy powered past a global slowdown.
The 214,000 increase in employment followed a 256,000 advance the prior month that was more than initially estimated, Labor Department figures showed today in Washington. The jobless rate fell to 5.8 percent, even as more people entered the labor force, boosting the share of the population working to the highest in five years.
Steadfast hiring signals employers are confident domestic demand will hold up in the face of struggling European and emerging economies. The report probably keeps Federal Reserve policy makers on track to boost interest rates in 2015 even as wages, the labor market’s weak spot, continued to lag behind.
“Despite all the talk about the global economy, the U.S. domestic economy seems to be doing fairly well,” said John Silvia, chief economist at Wells Fargo Securities LLC in Charlotte, North Carolina, who correctly projected the decline in the unemployment rate. “You look at these employment numbers, and although wages are steady, the combination of job gains and steady wages means you’re going to see continued personal income and therefore consumer spending.”
Photographer: Michael Nagle/Bloomberg
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The increase in October employment was broad-based, with factories, construction companies and retailers among those adding employees. Payrolls at restaurants jumped 41,800 and hourly earnings for all workers rose less than projected.