Strong Payroll Increase Surpasses Expectations

by: Roy Mehta

The Labor Department announced Friday non-farm payrolls jumped by 166,000 in October, more than doubling economists' expectations. The figure was also far stronger than September's revised increase of 96,000. Average hourly wage increased 0.2% to $17.58, less than the 0.3% forecasted, which economists saw as a sign inflation seems to be contained. The unemployment rate remained unchanged at 4.7%, as expected. The news allowed edgy investors to breath a sigh of relief: "This makes people a little less concerned about a recession," Nigel Gault, chief U.S. economist at Global Insight, told Bloomberg. "As long as jobs are being created, it's helping the consumer, who is facing headwinds on a lot of other fronts right now." The manufacturing and construction sectors stayed soft, but were offset by hiring in public schools, health care, and temporary-help services. The news may further limit the chances of another rate cut in December, as the Fed hinted that it would not ease again unless the economy gets worse (full story).

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