204,000 jobs added in October; unemployment rate rises to 7.3 percent

Applicants wait to meet potential employers at a Manhattan job fair in New York City.

The latest jobs report defied expectations this morning: payrolls grew by 204,000 people in October, contrary to the 120,000-figure forecasted by surveyed economists. Does this mean the labor markets emerged from the government shutdown unscathed?

Julia Coronado, chief economist at BNP Paribas, warns that while the Bureau of Labor Statistics report indicates strength, we should keep in mind that the government shutdown seriously disrupted data collection.

“I think we need to get a couple more months of data under our belts before we draw conclusions about what the trends are,” she says.

Plus, looking at the parallel survey of households, the unemployment rate climbed from 7.2 to 7.3 percent. And participation fell, which Coronado notes is usually a negative sign. 

About the author

Julia Coronado is chief economist at BNP Paribas.

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