United States: Unemployment remained unchanged in October but payrolls returned to positive territory
November 5, 2010
In October, the economy added 151,000 jobs, rebounding from the 41,000 jobs shed in September (previously reported: -95,000 jobs). The figure represented the largest increase since May and surprised the market on the upside, as private sector analysts expected only 60,000 job gains. That said, despite the better-than-expected monthly reading, the unemployment rate remained unchanged at 9.6% for a second consecutive month. The payroll increase in October reflected strong private sector hiring, as private non-farm payrolls increased by 159,000 units. The public sector shed 8,000 in October, which was better than expected, given the 148,000 decrease seen in September. Moreover, the October reading was the last one to be affected by drops in temporary Census workers. The economy lost an accumulated 8.3 million jobs between December 2007 ? the official start of the recession ? and December 2009, but has recovered nearly 900,000 jobs this year, showing a slow but steady improvement in the labour market. However, as the government is withdrawing fiscal stimulus going forward, unemployment is expected to remain high, with Consensus Forecast panellists currently forecasting the unemployment rate to average 9.6% in 2010, before declining to an average 9.3% in 2011.