The U.S. economy beat expectations again and delivered good news on the jobs front for American workers. 

In October, 1.5 million workers were no longer unemployed and the unemployment rate fell by 1.0 percentage point to 6.9 percent. Economists had predicted far fewer job gains (530,000) and a much smaller reduction in the unemployment rate (7.7 percent).

As the Bureau of Labor Statistics, points out, “Both measures have declined for 6 consecutive months but are nearly twice their February levels (3.5 percent and 5.8 million, respectively).” 

Women and minorities are benefiting from job creation as the unemployment rates fell for all demographic groups: percent for adult men (6.7 percent), adult women (6.5 percent), teenagers (13.9 percent), Whites (6 percent), Blacks (10.8 percent), Asians (7.6 percent), and Hispanics (8.8 percent). Meanwhile, the labor force participation rate ticked up and there are fewer unemployed women than men.

The coronavirus pandemic drove our economy into a nosedive and shed over 22 million jobs, but remarkably, more than half of them have returned. Another 1.4 million workers on temporary lay off returned leaving this number at 3.2 million, down from 18.1 million in April. There is still more room to get back to its pre-pandemic level, but we’re on the way. 

A major area of concern is the number of long-term unemployed workers which rose by over 1 million to 3.6 million. These are workers who have been unemployed for over 27 weeks.

The areas of job growth were not too surprising: leisure and hospitality, professional and business services, retail trade, and construction. As work and leisure activity resumes, businesses are hiring to meet recovering demand. 

The only area to lose jobs was the government, prompting Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia to quip: “Teachers’ unions take note: School closures are bad not just for students, but for workers, too.” 

The v-shaped job recovery in light of this pandemic is a testament to our pre-covid economic strength. As we reported last week, the economy grew at an astounding 33.1 percent last quarter. 

Reopening the economy is the key to getting Americans back to work.