Record 158,510,000 Americans Employed in October; 23rd Record for Trump

Susan Jones | November 1, 2019 | 7:12am EDT
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 A sign of the times in Lafayette, California. (Photo via Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images)
A sign of the times in Lafayette, California. (Photo via Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images)

( – Following September’s blockbuster employment report, the Bureau of Labor Statistics on Friday said more records were set in October.

A record 158,510,000 Americans are now working, the 23rd such record since President Donald Trump took office.

The nation’s labor force participation rate also set a Trump-era high of 63.3 percent. This number is explained in greater detail below, but the higher, the better. Payroll taxes from people who work help support programs for those who don't.

The economy added 128,000 jobs in October, higher than economists expected, given the General Motors strike that began on Sept. 15 and lasted six weeks.

Notable job gains occurred in food services and drinking places, social assistance, and financial activities,the Bureau of Labor Statistics said.

The unemployment rate, which set a 50 year low of 3.5 percent last month, ticked up a tenth of a point to 3.6 percent.

But the unemployment rate for black Americans, 5.4 percent in October, has never been this low.

In October, the civilian non-institutional population in the United States was 259,845,000. That included all people 16 and older who did not live in an institution (such as a prison, nursing home or long-term care hospital).

Of that civilian non-institutional population, 164,364,000 were participating in the labor force, meaning that they either had a job or were actively seeking one during the last month. This resulted in a labor force participation rate of 63.3 percent.

The labor force participation rate has never been higher than 67.3 percent, a level achieved in the early months of 2000. The Trump-era high, until today, was 63.2 percent, and economists say retiring baby boomers account for some of the decline since the turn of the century.

Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult men (3.2 percent), adult women (3.2 percent), teenagers (12.3 percent), Whites (3.2 percent), Blacks (5.4 percent, a new record), Asians (2.9 percent), and Hispanics (4.1 percent) showed little or no change in October.

The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for August was revised up by 51,000 from +168,000 to +219,000, and the change for September was revised up by 44,000 from +136,000 to +180,000. With these revisions, employment gains in August and September combined were 95,000 more than previously reported.

The number of Americans not in the labor force, but who want a job, totaled 4,880,000 in October, which is an eleven-year low.

Wages continued to climb in October. Average hourly earnings for all employees on private, nonfarm payrolls rose by 6 cents to $28.18  last month. Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings have increased by 3.0 percent.

--The business and economic reporting of is funded in part with a gift made in the memory of Dr. Keith C. Wold.



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