WASHINGTON – The United States’ headline unemployment rate fell to 4.1 percent in October, down one-tenth of a percentage point from the previous month and a 17-year low, while US employers added 261,000 new jobs, the Labor Department said in a report on Friday.
Hiring bounced back after a difficult September, when payrolls rose by an upwardly revised total of just 18,000 due to the impact of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma; the Labor Department had initially estimated that September payrolls declined by 33,000.
Although the addition of 261,000 new jobs in October marks a clear improvement over the previous month, economists had been expecting nonfarm payrolls to rise to a seasonally adjusted total of more than 300,000.
Factoring in the upwardly revised hiring figures for August and September, the US economy created an average of 162,000 new jobs per month in the August-October period.
Average hourly earnings, meanwhile, remained virtually unchanged at $26.53 last month and have climbed 2.4 percent, or $0.63, over the past 12 months, the report said.
The labor force participation rate, defined as the share of the population 16 years and older either working or seeking work, decreased to 62.7 percent in October, down four-tenths of a percentage point from the previous month
Besides the headline unemployment rate (U-3), the Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics also releases other unemployment figures, among them the so-called U-6 rate, which also includes underemployed and discouraged workers.
The U-6 came in at a seasonally adjusted rate of 7.9 percent in October, down from 8.3 percent in September and 9.5 percent in October 2016.