Job Growth Spikes by 271K in October

The U.S. economy created a net total of 271,000 jobs during October.

The U.S. economy created a net total of 271,000 jobs during October, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics on Friday, which represents an unexpectedly strong surge for the month. Economists had predicted roughly 100,000 fewer, in line with average gains in the last three months of less than 200,000. Also, the national unemployment rate didn’t change, coming in at 5 percent. Job gains were across the board in October: in professional and business services, health care, retail trade, food services and drinking places, and construction. All of these segments, should they experience sustained job growth, bode well for demand for certain types of CRE.

For instance, employment in professional and business services—which is good for office space demand—increased by 78,000 in October, compared with an average gain of 52,000 per month over the last 12 months. Employment in retail trade, which is good for that real estate sector, rose by 44,000 in October, compared with an average monthly gain of 25,000 over the last 12 months. On the other hand, job gains in manufacturing, and transportation and warehousing, which tend to be good for the industrial sector, were nil for the month. Construction employment increased by 31,000 in October, following little employment change in recent months. Among that total, employment in nonresidential specialty trade contractors rose by 21,000, the bureau noted.

Other metrics published by the BLS pointed to stronger job growth as well. For instance, the number of people employed “part time for economic reasons”—those working part time but who wanted a full-time jobs—edged down by 269,000 to 5.8 million in October. Over the past 12 months, the number of people in that situation dropped by 1.2 million as many of them got better jobs (but not all, some simply left the labor force). The category that the BLS calls “marginally attached” to the workforce dropped as well. Technically they weren’t in the labor force, even though they wanted and were available for work, and had looked for a job sometime in the last 12 months, because they hadn’t looked in the four weeks preceding the survey. They numbered 1.9 million in October, down by 276,000 from a year earlier.

Separately, for the week ending October 31, the U.S. Department of Labor said on Thursday that initial unemployment claims came in at an annualized rate of 276,000, an increase of 16,000 from the previous week’s level. The four-week moving average was 262,750, an increase of 3,500 from the previous week’s average. Despite the upticks, those rates are still pretty low. Anything below a pace of 300,000 generally points to employment growth overall, though naturally any given week can be noise.