U.S. employers slowed their hiring in October, adding a modest but still decent 150,000 jobs, a sign that the labor market may be cooling but remains resilient despite high interest rates that have made borrowing difficult. much more expensive for companies and consumers.
Last month’s job growth, while well below the strong gain of 297,000 in September, was strong enough to suggest that many companies still want to hire and that the economy remains strong.
And job growth would have been higher in October if not for already resolved strikes by the United Auto Workers (UAW) against Detroit automakers. The strikes likely reduced last month’s job gains by at least 30,000, economists say. The strikes ended this week with tentative agreements in which companies gave significantly better wages and benefits to union workers.
The unemployment rate rose from 3.8% to 3.9% in October. In another sign of a possible weakening of the labor market, the Labor Department revised down its estimate for employment growth in August and September by a combined total of 101,000.
UAW strikes led to a total loss of 35,000 factory jobs in October. But most other sectors posted strong job gains, particularly health care, which added 58,000, government agencies 51,000 and construction companies 23,000.
Wage pressures, which have been gradually slowing, eased further in October. The average hourly wage increased 0.2% from September and 4.1% from 12 months earlier. The year-on-year wage increase was the lowest since June 2021; the month-on-month increase was the smallest since February 2022.
(With information from The Associated Press)