The unemployment rate nudged down, but new jobs in October fell short of what economists expected, according to numbers released this morning by the U.S. Department of Labor.
Economists were expecting at least 100,000 new jobs to have been created last month. Instead, the numbers show only 80,000 new non-farm jobs, all of them coming from the private sector. Government at every level cut a total of 24,000 positions, continuing a trend that began mid-2008 at the state and local levels.
The New York Times described the increase as “mediocre,” and said the report offers little guidance about the direction of the U.S. employment outlook.
Despite the minor drop in the unemployment rate — from the 9.1 percent where it’s been since July, to 9.0 percent — the Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics said the total number of unemployed barely changed. In October, there were 13.9 million Americans out of work. In October, the number was almost 14 million.