The October Employment Situation

November 5, 2021 by Clare Coffey

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The federal government’s October Employment Situation Report shows 535,000 new jobs added to the economy, leading some commentators to describe job growth as “roaring.” But the revisions of previous month’s numbers may be even more important. August’s numbers were revised up by 117,000, and September’s by 118,000, for a total of 235,000 more jobs added in late summer than previously reported. These revisions suggest a slow, steady upward trend more than any one particular banner month. 

For the month of October, there’s both good news and bad news. Besides the reversal of August and September’s plummeting monthly job growth, the good news includes a 0.2% drop in the unemployment rate, and a 1% increase in compensation in both Transportation and Warehousing as well as Leisure and Hospitality.

The monthly growth of job postings is also up, with over three million new job postings in October. That’s the second-highest posting growth in any month this year so far (May still holds first place.)

The fact that job posting growth is keeping pace with employment growth tells us that demand for labor is still increasing, and we haven’t yet closed the gap between the workers firms need and the workers they actually hire. 

So much for the good news. The bad news is that these gains in employment we saw above were not evenly distributed. 

Men’s unemployment decreased by 0.5 percentage points, while women’s unemployment actually increased by 0.2.

Meanwhile, neither Black nor white unemployment unemployment budged an inch, although Hispanic and Asian unemployment decreased.

Women’s labor force participation rate still isn’t where it was before the pandemic.

And the Black labor force participation rate actually fell from where it was in September.


Industry Highlights:

  • Leisure and Hospitality leads in total October job gains with 164,000 new jobs, mostly driven by the Food Services and Drinking Places sub-industry. The restaurant staffing crunch may finally be abating.



  • Transportation and Warehousing had the biggest percent change in postings at 43%, which tracks with its months-long streak of dominance in posting growth. Information, in second place, saw 29% growth.



  • In terms of overall postings (not growth) Healthcare and Social Assistance leads the field with nearly 600,000 postings.


That’s a wrap on this month’s Employment Situation Report. We’ll see you here next month.