According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, total U.S. nonfarm payroll employment rose by 638,000 in October, and the unemployment rate declined to 6.9%.
The bureau announced that improvements in the labor market reflect the continued resumption of economic activity curtailed by the COVID-19 pandemic and efforts to contain it. Notable job gains occurred in leisure and hospitality during October, the bureau noted, and in the professional and business services, retail trade and construction, while employment in government declined.
In October, the unemployment rate declined by one percentage point to reach 6.9%, and the number of unemployed persons fell by 1.5 million to 11.1 million. Both measures have declined for six consecutive months but are almost twice their February levels of 3.5% and 5.8 million, respectively.
Among the unemployed, the number of persons on temporary layoff declined by 1.4 million to 3.2 million, down considerably from the high of 18.1 million in April but up 2.4 million versus February. The number of permanent job losses, at 3.7 million in October, changed little over the month but came in 2.4 million higher than in February. The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons increased by 383,000 to 6.7 million in October after declines totaling 4.6 million over the previous five months. The figure is based on individuals who would have preferred full-time employment but were working part time because their hours had been reduced or they were unable to find full-time employment.
In October, 21.2% of employed persons teleworked at some point over the prior four weeks because of the COVID-19 pandemic, down from 22.7% in September. For the month, 15.1 million persons reported that they had been unable to work or worked fewer hours at some point during the prior four weeks because their employer closed or lost business due to the pandemic, down from 19.4 million in September.