The U.S. economy added 128,000 workers to payrolls in October, the Labor Department announced Friday in its monthly jobs report.
The figure exceeded most analysts’ expectations, which projected about 75,000 new jobs for the month. The economy added 136,000 jobs in September.
The unemployment rate remained unchanged at 3.6 percent, or less than 6 million people, the report noted.
The department said there were key gains in the food services, social assistance and financial industries. The report noted declines in motor vehicles and parts, due to the 41-day General Motors-United Auto Workers strike. Nearly 50,000 union workers were away from their jobs for more than a month before a new contract was accepted two weeks ago. It’s estimated the strike cost GM $4 billion in lost productivity.
Also, it noted, federal government employment was down in October, due to a drop in the number of temporary jobs needed for the 2020 Census.
Friday’s report slightly exceeded the figures by ADP-Moody’s Analytics on Wednesday that said 125,000 jobs were added in October.
The report noted U.S. job growth has averaged 167,000 per month so far in 2019. Last year, the monthly average was 223,000.
Also Friday, the Institute for Supply Management said growth in the U.S. manufacturing sector shrunk for the third straight month in October to 48.3 percent. Anything below 50 percent is a contraction.
The ISM said the trade conflict between the United States and China was a likely factor in the reduced production.
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