Defying projections that the shutdown would harm hiring, the economy added 204,000 jobs in October, while estimates for previous months were revised upward in a sign that the employment picture is improving, at least for now.
The White House immediately pounced:
“America’s resilient businesses have added jobs for 44 consecutive months, with private sector employment increasing by a total of 7.8 million over that period,” wrote Council of Economic Advisors Chairman Jason Furman.
Resilience they have needed in the Obama economy, yes.
But many workers last month could only obtain part time jobs, and a separate employment measure including discouraged workers and those working part time but hoping for full time jobs increased from 13.6 percent to 13.8 percent.
The unemployment rate rose from 7.2 percent to 7.3 percent, but the number was essentially meaningless because temporarily furloughed government workers were classified as unemployed.
Even the jobs number may be “fluky,” according to the Wall Street Journal, which noted that it may be artificially high because government surveys were kept open longer because of the shutdown.
Still, with September hiring revised upward to 163,000 from an initial estimate of 148,000 and the August number now at 238,000 instead of 193,000, the data suggest positive movement in the employment arena.