Employers added 261,000 new jobs in October as inflation and high prices have become central to voters ahead of next week’s midterm elections in which Republicans could retake control of Congress. File Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | License Photo
Nov. 4 (UPI) -- In a strong showing for the American economy, U.S. employers added a surprising 261,000 new jobs in October as inflation and high prices have become a central issue to voters ahead of next week's midterm elections in which Republicans could retake control of Congress.
Friday's data from the U.S. Labor Department show the unemployment rate rose to 3.7% from a 50-year low of 3.5% as expected. Wages also held at 4.7% year over year, while hiring remained steady for the second year in a row.
Non-farm payrolls rose by 66,000 above its October 2021 benchmark, and average hourly earnings have also increased by 0.4% since September, the report said.
Hiring in October increased the most in the healthcare industry, which created 53,000 new jobs, one of the biggest increases seen in more than two years, the report said.
So far in 2022, the healthcare sector has added an average of 47,000 new jobs per month, while an average of only 9,000 new jobs were added per month throughout 2021.
The manufacturing sector added 32,000 jobs in October, with the most gains seen in industries that cater to durable goods -- which have added an average of 37,000 jobs per month throughout 2022.
Considerable job growth was also noted in the professional and technical services industries.
Meanwhile, the Federal Reserve bank has been working to curtail inflation by raising interest rates at the fastest pace in more than 40 years. And while steady hiring is generally good for workers, in the current economy it's contributing to high prices and deficient wages, experts say.
On the campaign trail, President Joe Biden has acknowledged that inflation had taken a toll on Americans all year, which threatens to create a backlash at the polls next Tuesday.
In a statement Friday, Biden called inflation "our top economic challenge" adding that the White House is "going to do what it takes to bring down inflation."
"As long as I'm president, I'm not going to accept an argument that the problem is that too many Americans are finding good jobs. Or that too many working Americans finally have more dignity in the workplace. Or that our largest most profitable corporations shouldn't have to pay their fair share," Biden said.
On Wednesday, the U.S. Central bank also announced the sixth interest rate hike since March and the fourth at 75 basis points, which sent Wall Street into a frenzy.
The robust job market was affirmed in an ADP report earlier this week that showed private-sector employers added 239,000 new jobs in October, nearly 8% higher than a year ago.
Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said Wednesday that a recession was still narrowly possible as the United States continues to navigate inflation in the waning days of the pandemic.
"Although job vacancies have moved below their highs and the pace of job gains has slowed from earlier in the year, the labor market continues to be out of balance, with demand substantially exceeding the supply of available workers," he said.