The US economy added 250,000 jobs in October, significantly exceeding expectations, the government announced Friday.
The unemployment rate remained at 3.7%, a 49-year low. Wages grew 3.1%, strong growth after years of stagnant paychecks.
The number gives President Donald Trump and congressional Republicans a positive talking point as they head into the midterm elections next Tuesday.
The year-over-year percentage growth in average hourly earnings looks larger than it actually is because wages declined last October as low-wage workers returned to their jobs following a particularly strong hurricane season. Month to month, hourly earnings increased by only five cents, a modest increase.
Some of the strong payrolls growth number came from a slight downward revision to September’s number, but overall it lifts the average over the past 12 months to 211,000. The Bureau of Labor Statistics said last month that Hurricane Florence may have depressed job growth, but that Hurricane Michael in the Florida panhandle had “no discernible effect.”
Most of the net new jobs came from health care, manufacturing, and construction.