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Oct. Labor Report: Unemployment at 9%, Manufacturing Stalling With Only 5,000 Jobs Added

The nation's unemployment rate dropped to 9 percent in October, its lowest level in six months, according to a report released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

However, even though 8,000 non-farm jobs were added, roughly 13.9 million people remain unemployed--and the unemployment rate has been stuck between 9 and 9.2 percent since April.

Looking at the bright side, Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis said 2.8 million jobs have been created over 20 consecutive months of private-sector growth, "including more than one million jobs this year alone. GDP growth in the third quarter was 2.5 percent - the fastest rate in over a year and nearly twice that of the previous quarter. Businesses reported significantly fewer layoffs in October. Consumer and business spending are both up, reflecting Americans' increased confidence in our recovery progress."

However, the mood from the Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM) wasn't as cheery. "The October jobs report simply wasn't good enough," said Scott Paul, AAM's executive director. "Private-sector job growth wasn't nearly enough to sustain a recovery, and manufacturing was a big disappointment. Manufacturing, which had been contributing an outsized share of growth, fell flat again with only 5,000 jobs added. So we're clearly seeing a slowdown, which should be alarming news to anyone concerned about our manufacturing [sector] and job prospects for Americans who do not possess a four-year degree."

Other highlights from the October report include:

  • The number of long-term unemployed (Americans out of work 27 weeks or more) fell by 366,000 in October, the biggest drop since 1948.

  • Government lost 24,000 jobs and construction lost 20,000 jobs.

  • Professional and business services increased by 32,000 jobs, and has grown by 562,000 jobs over the past 12 months.

  • Health care continued to expand with 12,000 jobs, following a gain of 45,000 in September. Offices of physicians added 8,000 jobs in October. Over the past 12 months, health care has added 313,000 jobs.

  • Leisure and hospitality added 22,000 jobs; since January 2010, the industry has added 344,000 jobs.

  • Little change in employment was seen in other major private-sector industries, including wholesale trade, transportation and warehousing, information and financial activities.

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