Friday marked the final look at job numbers before next week’s midterm elections, and while the labor market remains strong, there was an uptick in the unemployment rate in October.
According to data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate increased to 3.7% from 3.5% in October. The unemployment rate is about a percentage point lower than a year ago.
The data showed that the number of Americans collecting unemployment in October increased by 306,000 to 6.1 million.
The labor participation rate, which dropped during the pandemic, was at 62.2% in October, and remains a percentage point below pre-pandemic levels.
Overall incomes increased 12 cents in October to an average of $32.58 an hour. Wages have gone up, on average, by 4.7% in the last year, but even with raises, Americans’ spending power has declined. The Consumer Price Index has indicated an 8.2% increase in the cost of goods and services in the last year.
There are signs the labor market is slowing. Employment increased by 261,000, in October. Monthly job growth has averaged 401,000 so far in 2022, and averaged 562,000 per month in 2021.
The health care industry continued its growth in October, adding 53,000 employees. The hospitality industry is still trying to bounce back from the pandemic by adding 35,000 employees in October. The industry is still missing 1.1 million workers from pre-pandemic levels.