Employment Situation Summary
Transmission of material in this release is embargoed USDL-12-2164
until 8:30 a.m. (EDT) Friday, November 2, 2012
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THE EMPLOYMENT SITUATION — OCTOBER 2012
Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 171,000 in October, and the unemployment
rate was essentially unchanged at 7.9 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
reported today. Employment rose in professional and business services, health care,
and retail trade.
| Hurricane Sandy |
|Hurricane Sandy had no discernable effect on the employment and unemployment |
|data for October. Household survey data collection was completed before the |
|storm, and establishment survey data collection rates were within normal ranges|
|nationally and for the affected areas. For information on how unusually severe |
|weather can affect the employment and hours estimates, see the Frequently Asked|
|Questions section of this release. |
Household Survey Data
Both the unemployment rate (7.9 percent) and the number of unemployed persons (12.3
million) were essentially unchanged in October, following declines in September.
(See table A-1.)
Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rate for blacks increased to 14.3
percent in October, while the rates for adult men (7.3 percent), adult women (7.2
percent), teenagers (23.7 percent), whites (7.0 percent), and Hispanics (10.0 percent)
showed little or no change. The jobless rate for Asians was 4.9 percent in October
(not seasonally adjusted), down from 7.3 percent a year earlier. (See tables A-1,
A-2, and A-3.)
In October, the number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more)
was little changed at 5.0 million. These individuals accounted for 40.6 percent of
the unemployed. (See table A-12.)
The civilian labor force rose by 578,000 to 155.6 million in October, and the labor
force participation rate edged up to 63.8 percent. Total employment rose by 410,000
over the month. The employment-population ratio was essentially unchanged at 58.8
percent, following an increase of 0.4 percentage point in September. (See table A-1.)
The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons (sometimes referred to
as involuntary part-time workers) fell by 269,000 to 8.3 million in October, partially
offsetting an increase of 582,000 in September. These individuals were working part
time because their hours had been cut back or because they were unable to find a
full-time job. (See table A-8.)
In October, 2.4 million persons were marginally attached to the labor force, little
different from a year earlier. (These data are not seasonally adjusted.) These
individuals were not in the labor force, wanted and were available for work, and had
looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months. They were not counted as unemployed
because they had not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey. (See
Among the marginally attached, there were 813,000 discouraged workers in October, a
decline of 154,000 from a year earlier. (These data are not seasonally adjusted.)
Discouraged workers are persons not currently looking for work because they believe
no jobs are available for them. The remaining 1.6 million persons marginally attached
to the labor force in October had not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding
the survey for reasons such as school attendance or family responsibilities. (See
Establishment Survey Data
Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 171,000 in October. Employment growth
has averaged 157,000 per month thus far in 2012, about the same as the average monthly
gain of 153,000 in 2011. In October, employment rose in professional and business
services, health care, and retail trade. (See table B-1.)
Professional and business services added 51,000 jobs in October, with gains in
services to buildings and dwellings (+13,000) and in computer systems design (+7,000).
Temporary help employment changed little in October and has shown little net change
over the past 3 months. Employment in professional and business services has grown by
1.6 million since its most recent low point in September 2009.
Health care added 31,000 jobs in October. Job gains continued in ambulatory health
care services (+25,000) and hospitals (+6,000). Over the past year, employment in
health care has risen by 296,000.
Retail trade added 36,000 jobs in October, with gains in motor vehicles and parts dealers
(+7,000), and in furniture and home furnishings stores (+4,000). Retail trade has added
82,000 jobs over the past 3 months, with most of the gain occurring in motor vehicles
and parts dealers, clothing and accessories stores, and miscellaneous store retailers.
Employment in leisure and hospitality continued to trend up (+28,000) over the month.
This industry has added 811,000 jobs since a recent low point in January 2010, with
most of the gain occurring in food services.
Employment in construction edged up in October. The gain was concentrated in specialty
trade contractors (+17,000).
Manufacturing employment changed little in October. On net, manufacturing employment
has shown little change since April.
Mining lost 9,000 jobs in October, with most of the decline occurring in support
activities for mining. Since May of this year, employment in mining has decreased
Employment in other major industries, including wholesale trade, transportation and
warehousing, information, financial activities, and government, showed little change
over the month.
In October, the average workweek for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls was
34.4 hours for the fourth consecutive month. The manufacturing workweek edged down by
0.1 hour to 40.5 hours, and factory overtime was unchanged at 3.2 hours. The average
workweek for production and nonsupervisory employees on private nonfarm payrolls edged
down by 0.1 hour to 33.6 hours. (See tables B-2 and B-7.)
In October, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls edged
down by 1 cent to $23.58. Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings have risen
by 1.6 percent. In October, average hourly earnings of private-sector production and
nonsupervisory employees edged down by 1 cent to $19.79. (See tables B-3 and B-8.)
The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for August was revised from +142,000 to
+192,000, and the change for September was revised from +114,000 to +148,000.