After four months of job losses, the United States economy added 151,000 jobs in October, yet it's still not enough to make a dent in unemployment.
According to a Labor Department report released Friday, private companies have been expanding their payrolls throughout 2010. Private job growth had been overwhelmed by the elimination of temporary decennial Census jobs and layoffs by state and local government during the summer and early fall — until October.
On many levels, the October report was much stronger than expected. Forecasters had been expecting a gain of only 60,000 jobs. The report also revised the numbers for August and September, showing 110,000 fewer jobs losses than previously estimated. Hourly wages were slightly higher, too.
“The big picture from this report and some of the others recently all points to a pickup in growth in the beginning of the fourth quarter,” said John Ryding, chief economist at RDQ Economics. “The notion that the economy might be double-dipping can now be safely tossed out.”
Still, the economy has a long way to go before the world brightens for many Americans. Nearly 15 million people are out of work and actively looking, and the unemployment rate, which remained steady at 9.6 percent, has been relatively flat since May.
A broader measure of unemployment, which includes people who are working part-time because they cannot find full-time jobs and people who have given up looking for work, ticked down slightly to 17 percent from 17.1 percent in September.