U.S. payrolls and wages on the rise

Payrolls continue to grow in the United States and, along with them, hourly wages.

Nonfarm payrolls increased 161,000 in October. Average hourly earnings rose 10 cents to $25.92, bringing the gain over the past year to 2.8 percent. That’s the strongest annual wage growth since June 2009.

The unemployment rate edged down a tenth of a point to 4.9 percent in October, according to the latest Labor Department estimates.

The effects of Hurricane Matthew in the southeastern U.S. could have hampered what might otherwise have been a stronger jobs report.

Initial estimates for nonfarm payroll gains in September and August were revised upward a total of 44,000 to 191,000 in September and 176,000 in August.

With the revised numbers, U.S. payrolls have increased an average of 181,000 a month over the past year. That compares with an average monthly gain of 229,000 in 2015.

For October, the number of people counted among those unsuccessfully looking for work was little changed at 7.8 million, with 2 million of those unemployed for 27 weeks or longer. Another 5.9 million were counted among those working part-time because their hours have been reduced or they’re unable to find full-time positions.

The labor force participation rate edged down a tenth of a point to 62.8 percent.

Professional and business services added 43,000 jobs in October, while payrolls in the health care sector increased 31,000. Employment also continued to trend up in the financial activities sectors with the addition of 14,000 positions. Construction payrolls rose 11,000.

Meanwhile, employment fell in the manufacturing, mining and logging and retail trade sectors.

The average workweek for employees on private, nonfarm payrolls remained unchanged at 34.4 hours. The manufacturing workweek increased a tenth of an hour to 40.8 hours.