WASHINGTON — A solid October jobs report on Friday spotlighted the surprising durability of the U.S. economy in the face of persistent trade conflicts and a global slowdown.
The economy managed to add 128,000 jobs last month even though tens of thousands of workers were temporarily counted as unemployed because of the now-settled strike against General Motors. What’s more, the government revised up its combined estimate of job growth for August and September by a robust 95,000.
Though the unemployment rate ticked up from 3.5% to 3.6% in October, it’s still near a five-decade low.
And for a second straight month, average hourly wages rose a decent, if less than spectacular, 3% from a year ago.
The report from the Labor Department suggested that the economy has enough strength to keep expanding despite the threats from overseas, political tensions at home, a downturn in manufacturing and a chronic gap between the wealthiest Americans and everyone else.
The healthy level of hiring also makes it less likely that the Federal Reserve, which cut short-term interest rates this week for a third time this year, will do so again anytime soon.
“This was an unambiguously strong report,” said Kathy Bostjancic, chief U.S. financial economist at Oxford Economics.
The jobs data put stock investors in a buying mood. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed up 301 points for the day, or 1.1%.
Friday’s jobs report also raised the prospect of further job growth to come. The settlement of the GM strike, which contributed to the temporary loss of 41,600 auto factory and likely other related jobs last month, seems sure to lead to a return of those jobs in coming months.
In addition, the labor force participation rate, a gauge of how many adults either have a job or are looking for one,