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The U.S. unemployment rate dropped to 4.6 percent in October as the economy added 604,000 new private-sector jobs, bringing the net monthly gain to 531,000, far beyond analysts’ expectations.
The two previous months’ totals were revised upward, adding another 235,000 net new jobs.
The unemployment rate has dropped from 5.9 percent to 4.6 in five months; after the Great Recession, which was ignited in 2007, the unemployment rate took 10 years to decline to 4.6 percent, The Wall Street Journal noted.
The number of people jobless for at least 26 weeks plunged to 31.6 percent of unemployed workers in September, a strong reduction but still well above the pre-COVID average of less than 20 percent. 
Payrolls are still 8 percent short of the number of workers employed before the COVID virus appeared, leaving 4.2 million workers jobless.
However, if employment “were to grow at its recent pace, it would hit its pre-[COVID] number by next fall,” Nick Bunker, research director for job placement service Indeed, told Yahoo Finance.
Bunker’s forecast was echoed by other analysts who spoke to the news service, many adding that unemployment could dip below 4 percent by 2023.
The average total compensation for U.S. workers rose 11 cents to $30.96, with hourly workers seeing a 0.4-percent boost in October over September and a 4.9-percent increase during the previous 12 months. 
Pay in the low-pay leisure and hospitality sector grew 12.4 percent, although the sector’s rate of increase slowed to 9.4 percent in the past three months as restaurants, hotels, and other venues continued to add staff.
Manufacturers took on 60,000 new workers, in addition to 31,000 in September and 44,000 construction workers were back on the job in October, adding to the 30,000 who returned to work the month before.
The two sectors are just 2.1 and 2.0 percent below their pre-COVID workforce levels, compared to the private sector overall, where the workforce remains 2.5 percent smaller than before the COVID War. 
In other industries:

  • Air transport added 9,200 jobs, with a workforce 9.7 percent smaller than before COVID;
  • The movie business brought back 11,300 workers, but the workforce is still 20.9 percent smaller;
  • Hotels hired 23,200 employees but have 14.9 percent fewer than in the Before Times;
  • Restaurants booked 119,400 new staffers, bringing the labor force there within 6.4 percent of its pre-2020 number;
  • Nursing homes took on 11,800 new workers and has a 14.2-percent smaller workforce than it did 18 months ago;
  • The number of unincorporated self-employed people rose by 643,000, or 7.3 percent, year over year.
  • State and local education agencies dumped 65,000 workers even as schools reopened, leaving employment in those areas 7.9 and 4.6 percent, respectively, lower than in 2019.

The labor force participation rate—the number of people eligible to work who either are employed or actively seeking a job—remained unchanged at 61.6 percent.
In October, the proportion of employees working remotely specifically because of the virus fell to 11.6 percent from September’s 13.2, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported.
Also in October, 3.8 million workers said they lost jobs or hours because their employer lost business due to the virus, compared to 5 million in September.
TRENDPOST: As we have noted in articles such as “Unemployment Claims Climb Again” (28 Sep 2021), the roughly four million workers still lacking jobs include a large portion of unskilled workers who cleaned hotel rooms, made sandwiches in fast-food joints, or clerked in stores.
They lack the skills to fill key jobs in manufacturing and other areas of the tech sector in which employers are unable to find enough skilled workers.
The rising employment rate will stall as the cohort of skill-less workers retrain for new careers, leave the job market, or are consigned to the permanent underclass of unemployable people who subsist on public assistance.

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