Despite numerous natural disasters, October added 261,000 jobs, below the expected 310,000, and unemployment is at 4.1%, which is the lowest in 17 years. From CNBC:

“Today’s report, albeit a little bit mixed, is still a relatively decent number. It still points towards the positive trend that we’ve seen in payroll growth over the last several months and the last couple of years actually,” said Tony Bedikian, head of global markets at Citizens Bank. “In general, the economy is moving along, though a little softer than many market participants anticipated.”


Hospitality services, like restaurants and bars, brought in the most jobs by 89,000. Professional and business services added 50,000 and manufacturing had 24,000 new jobs. The health care industry added 22,000 jobs.

The report also changed the September payroll data “to show employers actually created 18,000 new jobs that month, extending the economy’s streak of job gains to a record 85 straight months.”

However, wages went slightly down. Private sector hourly jobs went down by 1 cent to about $26.53 an hour. Economists thought this month would show a 0.2% gain. The participation rate also fell by 0.4% to 62.7%, which is the lowest since May.

Mike Loewengart, the vice president of E-Trade Financial, said this is the exact kind of jobs report the Federal Reserve needs to justify raising rates in December. From The Wall Street Journal:

October’s jobs report comes two days after the Federal Reserve held short-term interest rates steady at its last policy meeting, but suggested it remained on course to lift them before year’s end given the economy’s “solid” growth rate.

The strength of the labor market plays an important role in the Fed’s decision making, alongside inflation and economic growth, and Fed officials will likely view the latest jobs report as strong in terms of hiring, even if wage growth was disappointing. A tighter labor market should lead to better paychecks and ultimately stoke consumer inflation.

The central bank cited ongoing strength in the labor market when it last raised rates in June, to the current range between 1% and 1.25%. Officials have penciled in one more move for 2017 if the economy stays on track, and the Fed has one more meeting scheduled before the end of the year, on Dec. 12-13. Policy makers will see one further payrolls report, for November, before that meeting.

The traders have kept bets that the Federal Reserve will choose to raise interest rates in December. From Reuters:

“I don’t think it is going to knock the Fed from raising rates in December,” said Sean Lynch, co-head of global equity strategy at Wells Fargo Investment Institute in Omaha. “Flat wages doesn’t concern us too much. We do think wage pressure could start to weigh on the markets next year in a tight labor market.”

After the report traders saw about a 90 percent chance of a December rate hike, little changed from before the report, based on a Reuters analysis of Fed funds futures traded at CME Group Inc’s (CME.O) Chicago Board of Trade.