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The Employment Situation in October

Austan Goolsbee, Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, explains the jobs numbers for October of 2010.

Today’s employment report shows that private sector payrolls increased by 159,000 in October, continuing ten consecutive months of private sector job growth. While job growth was substantially higher than in past months and higher than analysts expected, the pace was not enough to reduce the overall unemployment rate, which remained at 9.6%.

In addition to the increase in October, the estimates of private sector job growth for August and September were revised up by a total of 93,000. Since last December, private sector employment has risen by 1.1 million. Over the last quarter, including today’s revisions, private sector employers added an average of 122,000 jobs per month.

Overall payroll employment rose by 151,000 last month. Among the sectors with the largest payroll employment growth were education and health services (+53,000), temporary help services (+34,900), and retail trade (+27,900). Anticipated layoffs of 5,000 temporary Census jobs and a drop of 7,000 state and local government jobs subtracted from the total.

Given the volatility in monthly employment and unemployment data, it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report.

We continue to remain focused on our efforts to encourage robust economic growth that will also bring strong employment growth. It is essential that we take the additional targeted actions that the President has recommended to further stimulate growth and job creation, such as extending tax cuts for the middle class, investing in our infrastructure, providing tax incentives to encourage businesses to invest here at home, and promoting exports abroad.

Private Payroll Employment Chart Through October, 2010

Austan Goolsbee is Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers