Job Creation Continues Steady Pace

The Bureau of Labor Statistics, despite speculation involving hurricane-related delays, did indeed report the monthly employment numbers on Friday, as scheduled. The result: the U.S. economy created 171,000 jobs in October, more-or-less as expected. The unemployment rate ticked up a bit, to 7.9 percent.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics, despite speculation involving hurricane-related delays, did indeed report the monthly employment numbers on Friday, as scheduled. The result: the U.S. economy created 171,000 jobs in October, more-or-less as expected. The unemployment rate ticked up a bit, to 7.9 percent.

Employment growth has averaged 157,000 per month so far in 2012, about the same as the average monthly gain of 153,000 in 2011. In October, employment rose in professional and business services, health care and retail trade.

On Thursday, the Labor Department reported that for the week ending October 27, initial unemployment claims were 363,000, a decrease of 9,000 from the previous week’s revised figure of 372,000. That figure has been ping-ponging lately, but has been generally down over the long run. The less-jumpy four-week moving average was 367,250, a decrease of 1,500 from the previous week’s revised average of 368,750.

Construction spending up in September

The Census Bureau reported on Thursday that total U.S. construction spending during September was at an annualized rate of $851.6 billion, 0.6 percent above the revised August estimate of $846.2 billion. The September total is 7.8 percent higher the September 2011 estimate.

Private construction spending increased for the month, while public spending has dropped, which is a fairly typical pattern in recent years. In September, spending on private construction came in 1.3 percent above the revised August estimate, but public construction spending was 0.8 percent below the revised August estimate.

Total private residential construction spiked year-over-year in September by 20.9 percent. The increase was particularly large in the multifamily housing sector, considering the demand for apartments in the current economic climate. Multifamily construction was up 48.9 percent since this time last year. But single-family construction has also jumped: it was up 27.5 percent since a year ago.

Car sales slow monthly, gain annually

Light vehicle sales were at an annualized rate of 14.29 million in October, according to Autodata on Thursday. That‘s up 8 percent from October 2011, but down 4 percent from the sales rate last month. The monthly figure was below expectation, but it’s possibly because Hurricane Sandy affected plans to buy cars even before it hit land, thus taking a bite out of October sales.

Wall Street, in its second day of trading this week, bounced upward on Thursday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average gaining 136.16 points, or 1.04 percent. The S&P 500 was up 1.09 percent and the Nasdaq gained 1.44 percent.