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Unemployment rate edges down

The unemployment rate dropped slightly for the month of October to 9 percent, according to the U.S. Labor Department.

About 80,000 non-farm jobs were added in the past month, less than the 103,000 the Labor Department reported for September, when the jobless rate stood at 9.1 percent.

Automatic Data Processing, the massive payroll systems company, projected two days ago the economy would add 110,000 private-sector jobs last month. The Department’s own private-sector figures indicate 103,000 private-sector jobs were added to the economy in October.

The Labor Department reports 26,000 government jobs were cut last month, continuing a long trend of payroll squeezes dating back to 2008.

The civilian labor-force participation rate stood at 64.2 percent in October, and the employment-population ratio was little changed at 58.4 percent — meaning jobs were added without more workers giving up on looking for employment opportunities, as has been the case in previous dips in the unemployment report.

Jobless claims have also sloped downward.

Along demographic lines, the jobless rate among Blacks declined slightly to 15.1 percent. Other worker groups saw very little to no changes at all: 8.8 percent of adult men, 8.0 percent of adult women, 11.4 of Hispanics, and 7.3 percent of Asians were unemployed.

The top jobs generators in the economy were in retail, health care, and business services.

Construction shed 20,000 jobs after adding 27,000 in September.

Other factors point to a labor market that marginally improved despite recession fears a month ago. The number of workers holding onto part-time positions because they were unable to find full-time work dropped by 374,000 people to 8.9 million.

The jobs report indicates average hourly wages jumped slightly as well, growing by 5 cents to $23.19 an hour.

The average workweek for all private-sector employees was 34.3 hours; manufacturing workers work more — 40.5 hours.

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