The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that nonfarm payrolls rose by a strong 250,000 in October. The unemployment rate, which is derived from a separate survey, held at 3.7%, the lowest since 1969.
The nonfarm payroll number has been volatile lately. We get strong numbers followed by weaker numbers.
July registered 165,000, August 286,000, September 118,000, which brings us to October’s preliminary reading of 250,000. Over the last six months, the average up or down change in the payroll number from the prior month has been 103,000 (U.S. BLS data). There doesn’t seem to be much month-to-month consistency.
Seasonal discrepancies that aren’t being accounted for, survey quirks, or some combination may be to blame. What is important, however, is that any noise in the monthly data is generally squeezed out when viewed over longer period.
During the first ten months of the year, payroll growth averaged a healthy 213,000 each month, up from 180,000 over the same period in 2017.