Chart of the Day: Net New Jobs in October

The American economy added 271,000 new jobs last month, 90,000 of which were needed to keep up with population growth. This means that net job growth clocked in at a brisk 181,000 jobs—nearly all of it in the private sector. Not bad! The headline unemployment rate ticked down to 5.0 percent, and virtually of this gain was because more people were employed, not because folks were dropping out of the labor force. This is pretty good news if it translates into wage growth too.

Which it did. Hourly earnings of production and nonsupervisory employees were up 5.3 percent on an annualized basis, and weekly earnings were up an impressive 9.1 percent, which suggests workers are getting more hours and more overtime.

There’s really nothing much to dislike about this jobs report. As usual, it carries the risk that it will prompt the Fed to raise interest rates, but I think that’s inevitable at this point barring some kind of economic catastrophe. And a small increase won’t have much effect anyway. Now let’s see if we can keep this up through the holiday season.