U.S. payrolls swell 250,000 in October

Payrolls swelled in the United States in October, a gain that helped keep the unemployment rate at a nearly 50-year low and wages growing.

According to the latest Labor Department estimates, nonfarm payrolls increased 250,000. The jobless rate remained unchanged at 3.7 percent, the lowest reading since December 1969.

Estimated payroll gains for September were revised downward to 16,000 to 118,000. But the initial estimate for August was revised upward 16,000 to 286,000. Given the latest numbers,  job gains have averaged 211,000 a month over the past year.

Still, 6.1 million people were counted among those unsuccessfully looking for work in October. Of those, 1.4 million  had been out of work 27 weeks or longer.

Another 4.6 million people were counted among those working part-time because their hours were cut or they’d been unable to find full-time positions.

The labor participation rate increased two-tenths of a point to 62.9 percent in October, but has shown little change over the past year.

Job gains for October were spread out among industry sectors. The leisure and hospitality sector added 42,000 jobs, while payrolls increased 36,000 in health care and 35,000 among business and professional services. Employment increased 32,000 in manufacturing, 30,000 in construction and 25,000 in transportation and warehousing.

The average workweek for employees on private, nonfarm payrolls edged up a tenth of an hour to 34.5 hours. The manufacturing workweek edged down a tenth of an hour to 40.8 hours.

Average hourly earnings on private, nonfarm payrolls rose 5 cents to $27.30. Over the past year, hourly wages have increased 83 cents, or 3.1 percent.