U.S. economy added 150,000 jobs in October, showing signs of slowdown

Dan Li |
Chief Financial Officer | Snagajob + PhD in Economics | Northwestern University

The U.S. economy added 150,000 jobs in October, significantly lower than September’s revised number of 297,000.

Gains were seen in the healthcare, government, and social assistance sectors. Government jobs in particular returned to their pre-pandemic level after adding 51,000 jobs in October.

However, the total number of jobs was also impacted by strike activity in the automotive and entertainment industries. Manufacturing saw a decline of 33,000 jobs related to motor vehicles in October and motion picture and sound recording jobs decreased by 5,000 in October – that industry has lost 44,000 jobs since the beginning of strike activity in May.

The unemployment rate grew slightly to 3.9% in October and wages continued to grow at 0.2%, bringing the 12-month wage growth figure down slightly to 4.1%.

On Snagajob, job postings are down 3% month over month, showing a significant gain in retail jobs (+47%).

Here’s your roundup of key insights from the report:

  • Washington Post: "This year, the labor market has been undergoing a notable cool-down, across many sectors, from its red hot peak after the pandemic when employers rapidly created millions of jobs to keep up with pent-up consumer demand."

  • New York Times: "After nearly two years of lagging behind inflation, recent wage gains have on average been surpassing the pace of price increases, and workers are still in demand."

  • Wall Street Journal: "Having more people in the workforce could make it easier for employers to find workers, which would keep wage growth and inflation in check."

  • AP: "The U.S. job market has remained on firm footing despite those rate hikes and has helped fuel consumer spending, the primary driver of the economy."

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Hourly Jobs

All data is from 3/2/20-10/31/23

Here are the latest overall job numbers:

Overall hourly jobs are up 69% from February 2020's pre-pandemic numbers, and they are down 3% month over month.

Here are the latest job numbers by industry and category:

Food & Restaurant jobs are down 37% compared to pre-pandemic norms, seeing a 9% drop month-over-month and a 39% year-over-year decline.

Hotel & Hospitality jobs are down 69% compared to pre-pandemic norms, seeing a 36% month-over-month decrease, and a 69% year-over-year decline.

Healthcare jobs are up 158% compared to pre-pandemic norms, seeing a 17% month-over-month decline, and a 13% year-over-year decrease.

Retail jobs are down 24% compared to pre-pandemic norms, seeing a 47% month-over-month growth, and a 49% year-over-year decline.

Warehouse & Logistics jobs are up 99% compared to pre-pandemic norms, seeing a 1% month-over-month growth, and a 79% year-over-year decline.