The US economy added 531,000 jobs in October, greater than gains in August and September, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The overall unemployment rate continued its steady decrease, dropping 0.2 percentage points to 4.6% for the month. The number of unemployed people fell by 255,000 to 7.4 million.

The Census Bureau’s October Household Survey data recorded that 3.8 million people were “unable to work due to their employer closing or losing business due to the pandemic.” That’s 1.2 million fewer than in September.

Still, the economy is not at pre-pandemic levels of employment. In January 2020, the unemployment rate was 3.5% and about 5.8 million people were unemployed. US total employment is now at 148.3 million, about 2.6% lower than January of last year.

Job growth in October brought total employment to 148.3 million.

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Leisure and hospitality, a sector that did not add any jobs in August, led September and October job growth, accounting for 30.8% of new jobs added. The sector led job growth in June and July of this year as well.

The government sector lost jobs for the third month in a row. Notably, local government education jobs fell by 43,000, state government education lost 22,000 jobs, and private education gained 17,000.

The professional and business services sector added 100,000 or 18.8% of all new jobs for the month. Manufacturing, transportation, and warehousing added 114,400 jobs combined.

Leisure and hospitality led job growth, adding 164,000 jobs or 30.8% of the total.

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Average hourly earnings continued growth last month, increasing by 11 cents to $30.96. Hourly earnings are up $2.53 from the January 2021 average of $28.43.

From January 2020 through October 2021, hourly earnings increased by 0.4% monthly, on average. Monthly changes from 2018 through 2019 increased by an average of 0.26%.

Average hourly earnings grew to $30.96 in October.

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Track other indicators about the pandemic and how the nation is faring at the COVID-19 Impact and Recovery Hub.

The Employment Situation - October 2021