October NFP = +250K

The October jobs report is out! The US economy created 250,000 net new jobs last month. Wall Street had been expecting 190,000. The unemployment rate stayed at 3.7%.

The ranks of the employed rose to a fresh record 156.6 million and the employment-to-population ratio increased to 60.6 percent, the highest level since December 2008, according to the department’s household survey. That headline jobless number stayed level even amid a two-tenths of a percentage point rise in the labor force participation rate to 62.9 percent.

Those counted as outside the labor force tumbled by 487,000 to 95.9 million.

But the bigger story may be wage growth, which has been the missing piece of the economic recovery. Average hourly earnings increased by 5 cents an hour for the month and 83 cents year over year, representing a 3.1 percent gain. The annual increase in wages was the best since 2009.

That number is being watched closely by Federal Reserve, which has increased its benchmark interest rate three times this year and is on track for a fourth quarter-point hike in December. Higher wage growth feeds into the central bank’s desire to raise rates to keep inflation under control.

U-6, which is a broader measure of unemployment, fell to 7.4%. The futures market is indicating a strong open.

Health care showed some of the biggest gains for the month, adding 36,000. Manufacturing contributed 32,000, thanks to a gain in durable goods and in particular transportation equipment, which added 10,000.

Construction also rose sharply, with an increase of 30,000 while transportation and warehousing jumped by 42,000.

In addition, leisure and hospitality was a strong contributor, with 42,000 new positions after being unchanged in September, due likely to Hurricane Florence, the government report said.

Professional and business services increased by 35,000, bringing its 12-month total gain to 516,000, and mining added 5,000.

Job growth skewed by full-time positions, which rose by 318,000, while part-time jobs increased by 242,000, according to the household survey.

Another closely watched internal metric, the average work week, increased 0.1 hour to 34.5 hours.