US adds 204,000 jobs in Oct but jobless rate rises to 7.3%

08 November 2013 14:35  [Source: ICIS news]

WASHINGTON (ICIS)--The US economy added 204,000 jobs in October, the Labor Department said on Friday, noting that new hires numbers for August and September were both revised sharply upward.

Despite the considerable improvement in hiring for last month, the department said that the nation’s unemployment rate rose to 7.3% from the September reading of 7.2%

The October unemployment rate rose marginally to 7.3% despite increased hiring because other workers left or were dropped from their jobs. The total number of unemployed in October rose to 11.272m from the September jobless figure of 11.255m. 

Part of that increase in unemployed, the report said, included federal workers who were temporarily unemployed during the 16-day federal government shutdown that began on 1 October.

The department's calculation of employment is based on its monthly survey of companies and government entities. The unemployment figures are drawn from a separate survey of US households, so the two data sets sometimes seem at odds.

The jobs growth in October is in marked contrast to the September gain of 163,000, which was revised upward from the original estimate of 148,000.

In its monthly report, the department also revised upward the new hires numbers for August to 238,000 from the original measure of 193,000.

With those revisions, the report noted, employment gains for August and September combined were 60,000 higher than first thought.

The revised figures for August and September along with Friday’s report of 204,000 new hires in October mean that US employment gains have topped 150,000 per month for three consecutive months.

That is significant because the US economy should add about 150,000 jobs each month just to accommodate young people entering the workforce. 

But to make any serious headway in lowering the nation’s unemployment rate, economists say the country should add 300,000 new jobs each month for multiple quarters.

Part of the October employment gains were attributed to 2,300 new hires added in the US chemicals industry and some 700 workers taken on in the plastics sector.

Paul Hodges studies key influences shaping the chemical industry in Chemicals and the Economy

By: Joe Kamalick
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