A slower slowdown: National economy adds 128k jobs in October, beating expectations.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics released a stronger-than-anticipated jobs report today.

Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 128,000 in October, and the
unemployment rate was little changed at 3.6 percent, the U.S. Bureau
of Labor Statistics reported today. Notable job gains occurred in food
services and drinking places, social assistance, and financial activities.
Within manufacturing, employment in motor vehicles and parts decreased due to strike activity. Federal government employment was down, reflecting a drop in the number of temporary jobs for the 2020 Census.

The New York Times reported on the jobs numbers.

A major auto strike and a slowing manufacturing sector weren’t enough to knock the American job market off course last month.

Employers added 128,000 jobs in October, the Labor Department said Friday, and revisions to prior months’ data tacked on another 95,000 jobs. October’s figure would have been stronger had it not been for the strike at General Motors, which shaved close to 50,000 workers from the employment rolls, and for the layoff of some 20,000 temporary census workers.

All told, the report painted a picture of a job market that is weathering the storm of trade tensions and cooling global growth, largely because of a resilient, consumer-driven domestic economy.

“As long as confidence remains pretty elevated, as long as job gains continue albeit at a slower pace, and as long as those job gains continue to deliver wage growth, consumption should continue to drive the economy,” said Ben Herzon, an economist for Macroeconomic Advisers by IHS Markit, a forecasting firm.

From the Wall Street Journal:

The U.S. labor market remains a bright spot in the global economy. While the pace of hiring is slowing, Friday’s better-than-expected headline number and upward revisions to hiring in August and September were the latest signs of strength from domestic employers. Factoring in the GM strike that weakened manufacturing hiring, the data eased some fears of an imminent growth slowdown.

Other reports make essentially the same points: Call it a slower slowdown. We remain cautious. Recall our earlier posts citing a decline in consumer confidence and the difficulties employers are having in filling available positions and the drop in GDP growth for Q3

Today’s numbers are good. We’re thankful. And cautious.