The Department of Labor said Friday that the U.S. economy added 214,000 jobs in October, citing a U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics jobs report missing the expected 231,000 job gain. The headline unemployment number dropped to the lowest level since 2008 i.e. 5.8 percent, driven mainly due to a civilian labor force participation rate that has stubbornly remained at 62.8 percent.
In October, 2.2 million persons were marginally attached to the labor force or persons who were not in the labor force, wanted and were available for work, and had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months. However, they were not counted by the government as unemployed, because they had not searched for work in the 4 weeks prior.
Among the marginally attached, there were 770,000 discouraged workers in the month of October, and 7 million persons employed part-time only for economic reasons, which are sometimes referred to as involuntary part-time workers. These individuals, who would have preferred full-time employment, were working part time because their hours had been cut back or because they were unable to find a full-time job.
The 214,000 jobs gained in October represented the ninth consecutive month that the economy has created more than 200,000 jobs, but many economists point to the underlying weaknesses, such as low or no wage growth, shrinking work-weeks, and employment-to-population ratios. With the Federal Reserve looking for growth in hourly wages as they craft a way to implement their announced policy shift away from money-printing and bond-buying, the numbers aren’t at all encouraging.
As has been the case since the financial crisis, the majority of jobs created were in part-time or low-paying positions.