The U.S. added 161,000 new jobs in October and the unemployment rate ticked down slightly, to 4.9 percent, according to the monthly jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
That’s very slightly under expectations — economists had predicted around 175,000 jobs, NPR’s John Ydstie reports.
The October jobs report may have been affected by Hurricane Matthew, which struck the East Coast during the pay period examined.
The report also revised upward the job growth for August and September. August had been pegged at 167,000 new jobs and is now at 176,000; September had been reported as 156,000 and is now 191,000.
In total, that’s 44,000 additional new jobs over those two months.
Hourly earnings rose 10 cents over last month — in total, wages are up 2.8 percent year over year.
The labor participation rate changed little, the BLS says.
“Job growth has been one of the most positive features of the U.S. economy during this presidential campaign,” John notes. “It’s averaged over 200,000 a month for most of the past couple of years.”
Friday’s jobs report is, of course, the last one before the presidential election on Tuesday.