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Activity in the US services sector slowed for a second consecutive month in October, according to survey data released Friday. online news
The services index of the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) logged 51.8 percent last month, down from September’s 53.6 percent reading.
A figure above the 50-point mark signals growth in the sector, meaning that despite the slowdown, the services industry has grown for a 10th straight month.
The cooling comes on the back of decreases in the business activity and employment indexes, said ISM survey chair Anthony Nieves in a statement.
He added that respondents’ sentiment “is mixed, with some optimistic about the current steady and stable business conditions and others concerned about such economic factors as inflation, interest rates and geopolitical events.”
“Employment-related challenges are also prevalent, with comments about increasing labor costs, as well as shortages,” he said.
This comes as the Federal Reserve has embarked on an aggressive campaign since early 2022 to lower inflation by lifting interest rates.
Services sector activity has held up despite the higher rates, which lift borrowing costs for households and businesses.
For now, 12 services industries reported growth in October, while five reported a decrease.
“In general, commodity prices are coming down, but some categories, especially labor, are still elevated and will remain so for the immediate future,” said a respondent in the accommodation and food services industry.
“Suppliers are citing increased labor costs — wages, salaries and benefits — as the biggest reason for their price increases,” the respondent added.
Businesses are also keeping an eye on unrest in the Middle East, which some said could have an impact on fuel costs, according to the ISM survey.
© Agence France-Presse
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Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 150,000 in October, and the unemployment rate
changed little at 3.9 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Job gains
occurred in health care, government, and social assistance. Employment declined in manufacturing
due to strike activity.
This news release presents statistics from two monthly surveys. The household survey measures
labor force status, including unemployment, by demographic characteristics. The establishment
survey measures nonfarm employment, hours, and earnings by industry. For more information about
the concepts and statistical methodology used in these two surveys, see the Technical Note.
Household Survey Data
Both the unemployment rate, at 3.9 percent, and the number of unemployed persons, at 6.5 million,
changed little in October. However, since their recent lows in April, these measures are up by
0.5 percentage point and 849,000, respectively. (See table A-1.)
Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult men (3.7 percent), adult women
(3.3 percent), teenagers (13.2 percent), Whites (3.5 percent), Blacks (5.8 percent), Asians (3.1
percent), and Hispanics (4.8 percent) showed little change in October. (See tables A-1, A-2,
Among the unemployed, the number of permanent job losers increased by 164,000 over the month to
1.6 million. The number of persons on temporary layoff changed little at 873,000. (See table
In October, the number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) was little
changed at 1.3 million. The long-term unemployed accounted for 19.8 percent of all unemployed
persons. (See table A-12.)
Both the labor force participation rate, at 62.7 percent, and the employment-population ratio,
at 60.2 percent, changed little in October. (See table A-1.)
The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons, at 4.3 million, changed little
in October. These individuals, who would have preferred full-time employment, were working part
time because their hours had been reduced or they were unable to find full-time jobs. (See table
In October, the number of persons not in the labor force who currently want a job was 5.4
million, little different from the prior month. These individuals were not counted as unemployed
because they were not actively looking for work during the 4 weeks preceding the survey or were
unavailable to take a job. (See table A-1.)
Among those not in the labor force who wanted a job, the number of persons marginally attached
to the labor force changed little at 1.4 million in October. These individuals wanted and were
available for work and had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months but had not looked
for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey. The number of discouraged workers, a subset of
the marginally attached who believed that no jobs were available for them, also changed little
over the month at 416,000. (See Summary table A.)
Establishment Survey Data
Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 150,000 in October, below the average monthly gain
of 258,000 over the prior 12 months. In October, job gains occurred in health care, government,
and social assistance. Employment in manufacturing declined due to strike activity. (See table
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Health care added 58,000 jobs in October, in line with the average monthly gain of 53,000 over
the prior 12 months. Over the month, employment continued to trend up in ambulatory health care
services (+32,000), hospitals (+18,000), and nursing and residential care facilities (+8,000).
Employment in government increased by 51,000 in October and has returned to its pre-pandemic
February 2020 level. Monthly job growth in government had averaged 50,000 in the prior 12
months. In October, employment continued to trend up in local government (+38,000).
Social assistance added 19,000 jobs in October, compared with the average monthly gain of
23,000 over the prior 12 months. Over the month, employment continued to trend up in individual
and family services (+14,000).
In October, construction employment continued to trend up (+23,000), about in line with the
average monthly gain of 18,000 over the prior 12 months. Employment continued to trend up over
the month in specialty trade contractors (+14,000) and construction of buildings (+6,000).
Employment in manufacturing decreased by 35,000 in October, reflecting a decline of 33,000 in
motor vehicles and parts that was largely due to strike activity.
In October, employment in leisure and hospitality changed little (+19,000). The industry had
added an average of 52,000 jobs per month over the prior 12 months.
Employment in professional and business services was little changed in October (+15,000) and
has shown little net change since May. Employment in temporary help services changed little
over the month (+7,000) but is 229,000 below its peak in March 2022.
In October, employment in transportation and warehousing was little changed (-12,000) and has
shown little net change over the year. Over the month, warehousing and storage lost 11,000
jobs, while air transportation added 4,000 jobs.
Information employment changed little in October (-9,000). Employment in motion picture and
sound recording continued to trend down (-5,000); the industry has lost 44,000 jobs since
May, at least partially reflecting the impact of an ongoing labor dispute.
Over the month, employment showed little change in other major industries, including mining,
quarrying, and oil and gas extraction; wholesale trade; retail trade; financial activities;
and other services.
In October, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose by
7 cents, or 0.2 percent, to $34.00. Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings have
increased by 4.1 percent. In October, average hourly earnings of private-sector production
and nonsupervisory employees rose by 10 cents, or 0.3 percent, to $29.19. (See tables B-3
The average workweek for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls edged down by 0.1 hour
to 34.3 hours in October. In manufacturing, the average workweek was little changed at 40.0
hours, and overtime edged down by 0.1 hour to 2.9 hours. The average workweek for production
and nonsupervisory employees on private nonfarm payrolls edged down by 0.1 hour to 33.7 hours.
(See tables B-2 and B-7.)
The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for August was revised down by 62,000, from
+227,000 to +165,000, and the change for September was revised down by 39,000, from +336,000
to +297,000. With these revisions, employment in August and September combined is 101,000
lower than previously reported. (Monthly revisions result from additional reports received
from businesses and government agencies since the last published estimates and from the
recalculation of seasonal factors.)