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Economy in Brief

U.S. Job Growth Strong, Revisions Positive
by Tom Moeller November 5, 2004

Nonfarm payrolls grew 337,000 last month following upwardly revised gains of 139,000 and 198,000 during the prior two months. Consensus expectations had been for a 175,000 job rise in October.

Construction sector jobs grew 71,000 (3.9% y/y).

Hiring in private service producing industries also was quite strong, up 231,000 (1.8% y/y) following an upwardly revised September increase of 99,000. Hiring in professional & business services rose 97,000 (3.7% y/y) with temporary help services jobs up 47,600 (11.5% y/y). Jobs in the financial sector rose another 17,000 m/m (1.3% y/y) and education & health services jobs rose 62,000 (2.2% y/y). Government payrolls grew 41,000 (0.7% y/y).

Factory sector payrolls fell for the second consecutive month, down 5,000 (+0.3% y/y). Weakness was broad based across industries.

The index of aggregate hours worked (employment times hours worked) rose 0.3% (2.4% y/y) following an upwardly revised 0.4% gain in September. The index began the fourth quarter 2.0% (AR) above the prior quarter after 3.1% growth in 3Q.

Average hourly earnings rose 0.3% (2.6% y/y) after a downwardly revised 0.1% gain in September.

The unemployment rate from the separate household survey rose to 5.5% as a 298,000 (1.2% y/y) gain in employment lagged labor force growth of 367,000 (0.7% y/y). The labor force participation rate was unchanged at 65.9%.

Employment Oct Sept Aug Y/Y 2003 2002 2001
Payroll Employment 337,000 139,000 198,000 1.6% -0.3% -1.1% 0.0%
  Reported last month 96,000 128,000 1.3%
  Manufacturing -5,000 -14,000 14,000 0.3% -4.8% -7.2% -4.8%
Average Weekly Hours 33.8 33.8 33.7 33.7 33.7 33.8 34.0
Average Hourly Earnings 0.3% 0.1% 0.3% 2.6% 2.7% 2.9% 3.8%
Unemployment Rate 5.5% 5.4% 5.4% 6.0% 6.0% 5.8% 4.8%
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