October Job Growth Soars Past Wall Street's Expectations

The economy added 128,000 jobs in the month of October.

U.S. hiring was unexpectedly solid in October, as the economy added 128,000 jobs, brushing off the weight of the 40-day General Motors strike.

The payroll number far exceeded the estimate of 89,000 from economists surveyed by Refinitiv (the lowest forecast in more than two years), even with a decline of 42,000 jobs in motor vehicles and parts manufacturing because of the workers' strike and 20,000 temporary census workers leaving their jobs.

The unemployment rate edged slightly higher to 3.6 percent as more people were looking for work, but continued to hover near a 50-year low. The labor force participation rate was little changed at 63.3 percent. Average hourly earnings, meanwhile, rose by 3 percent over the past year to $28.18.

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"As long as consumers feel confident, the economy should stay on track," said Tony Bedikian, managing director of Citizens Bank.

Food services and drink establishments accounted for the biggest job creation, adding 48,000 new positions. It was followed by professional and business services, which added 22,000 jobs, and health care, which increased by 15,000.

Also, the AP reported on record highs in the stock market: 

The Dow Jones Industrial Average returned to a record on Monday, joining other market gauges at all-time highs, as the stock market’s rally carried into a fifth week.

Oil producers, banks and other stocks that do well when the economy is strengthening again led the way. It’s a notable shift in leadership following months of struggles for what Wall Street calls “cyclical” stocks, which lagged due to worries about trade wars and the slowing global economy.

Behind the resurgence for cyclicals are rising hopes that the United States and China are making progress in negotiations on their trade dispute, or at least that they’re no longer making it worse. Reports last week also showed that the job market is continuing to grow, corporate profits aren’t doing as badly as Wall Street expected and interest rates will likely remain low for a while.

Even in manufacturing, which has been hit particularly hard by President Donald Trump’s trade war, investors saw some hopes that things may be hitting bottom soon.

The Dow climbed 114.75 points, or 0.4%, to 27,462.11 and surpassed its prior all-time high set in July.