Experts have long predicted that the U.S. economy will soon be entering a recessionary phase, but there’s one stubborn statistic that continues to fly in the face of such forecasts. Employment has remained high in recent months and, aside from layoffs at a few notable companies, the market is still quite robust.
Encouraging October numbers
The Bureau of Labor Statistics released its latest jobs market report this week, showing a higher-than-expected number of jobs were added to the economy last month. Here are a few of the positive points included in the document.
- A total of roughly 261,000 new jobs were reported in October, which is considerably higher than the 200,000 that most analysts anticipated.
- The pay rate of those who are already in the workforce ticked higher as consumer costs remain elevated due to inflation.
- Employment opportunities were up in almost every industry.
While these are all reasons for cautious optimism, not everyone is convinced that the report tells the whole story.
For starters, rising wages aren’t exactly what the Federal Reserve wants to see in its ongoing bid to reduce inflation. Furthermore, the overall labor participation rate was slightly lower last week and the unemployment rate was modestly higher.
Interpreting the data
As with pretty much everything else pertaining to the nation’s uncertain economic future, the latest employment numbers represent a mixed bag. For KPMG Chief Economist Diane Swonk, the report — despite its surface-level hopefulness — is a sign of bad things to come.
“What I see in this is the imprint of beginning weakness,” she said, noting that “it’s not enough to derail the Fed.”
Glassdoor economist Daniel Zhao had a more cheerful outlook, explaining that “the job market is still hot” and there’s “still some cushion before we actually hit the ground.”