Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Jobless Rate Dips but Falls Short of Forecast Economists Expected More Jobs to Be Added

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Jobless Rate Dips but Falls Short of Forecast Economists Expected More Jobs to Be Added

Article excerpt

There was good news in Friday's unemployment report, when the national jobless rate fell to 5.8 percent in October, the lowest since July 2008, as more than 400,000 people joined the workforce. But signs remain that the improving economy is still tough for the people who have been working all along.

The monthly report did not meet expectations set by economists, who had predicted employers would add more than the 214,000 nonfarm jobs picked up during October, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Fewer Americans were unemployed than in September, with a decline of 267,000, as the number of people who reported they were working grew by 683,000, including 266,000 teenagers. The numbers in the monthly survey are seasonally adjusted.

All of the major Wall Street indexes dipped early Friday on the news, but stocks regained that ground. The Dow Jones industrial average ended the day at 17,573.93, up 19.46 or 0.11 percent. The Standard & Poor's 500 closed at 2,031.92, up 0.71 points or 0.03 percent; and the Nasdaq closed down 5.94 points, or 0.13 percent, at 4,632.53.

A bright spot in the labor report was that teenagers are turning off the Xbox to go to work.

While economists cautioned that some of the gain could be noise in the data caused by sampling errors, the survey showed 266,000 more teens working than in September. Teenage employment represented 39 percent of the jobs gained and teenage employment was up by 7.2 percent over last year.

Martha Ross, a fellow at the Washington, D.C.-based Brookings Institution, said teens seem to represent a disproportionate share of the people who gained jobs. If that number isn't revised as more data come in, it will be good news. "It's nice to see the share of teenagers who are employed coming back up," she said.

Teenagers had been giving up on the labor force in the last few years. In October 2010, teen unemployment reached its post- recession high of 27.3 percent.

Last month the unemployment rate for teens fell to 18.6 percent, while the labor force participation rate rose from 33.9 percent in September to 35.3 percent in October. …

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