U.S. labor update: Payrolls up, jobless rate down

Job growth continues in the United States at a pace of more than 200,000 net new positions a month. Meanwhile, the jobless rate has slipped to its lowest level in six years.

According to the latest Department of Labor estimates, nonfarm payrolls increased 214,000 in October. The unemployment rate edged down a tenth of a point to 5.8 percent, the lowest level since October 2008.

Initial estimates for job gains in September and August were revised upward a total of 31,000. With the latest numbers, U.S. payrolls have increased an average of 222,000 a month over the past year.

Still, the number of people counted among those who’ve been out of work for 27 weeks or longer was little changed in October at 2.9 million.

Another 7 million people were counted among those working on a part-time basis because their hours have been cut back or they’ve unable to find full-time jobs.

The civilian labor force participation rate was little changed at 62.8 percent, one of the lowest levels since 1978.

For October, payroll gains were spread out among a number of industry sectors. Food services and drinking places added a net 42,000 jobs, while business and professional services added 37,000 positions.

Employment increased 27,000 in retail trades, 25,000 in health care and 15,000 in manufacturing.

The average workweek for employees on private, nonfarm payrolls edged up a tenth of an hour to 34.6 hours. The average manufacturing workweek held steady at 40.8 hours.

Average hourly earnings for employees on private, nonfarm payrolls rose 3 cents to $24.57. Over the past year, average earnings have increased 2 percent.