With as much as Republicans say President Obama is destroying America, one wouldn’t exactly know it looking at the jobs numbers. In October, the unemployment rate fell to the lowest point since the Bush recession began, according to the newest report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Nonfarm jobs grew by 214,000 in October, and unemployment is down to 5.8 percent, topping off what amounts to the most positive hiring trend in eight years.
In addition, previous months’ numbers have been revised positively. According to the Department of Labor, 31,000 more jobs were added in August and September than previously reported, marking 9 months straight of 200,000 new jobs monthly — the longest stretch since Bill Clinton was President.
People are working more hours, as well. Average weekly hours have increased to 34.6 per week.
Despite these improvements and a rapidly growing economy, nearly 60 percent of voters said that they thought the economy was getting worse when they were polled on election day. Only about 33% said they saw improvements. This indicates that most Americans don’t actually feel the effects of the positive numbers.
Talking Points Memo points out that:
And what wage gains have occurred have benefited mainly the wealthy. Average income grew 10 percent from 2010 through 2013 for the wealthiest one-tenth of Americans, after adjusting for inflation, according to the Fed. For everyone else, incomes stagnated or declined.
Another reason is that the majority of growth comes from lower paying work. Retail stores added 27,100 jobs, and restaurants, hotels, and entertainment companies posted increases of 52,000.
All is not lost, however. Manufacturing jobs took a positive leap in October, adding 15,000 new jobs — 6,000 more than in September — while transportation and shipping added 13,300, and professional and business services added 37,000.
“Although the 214,000 gain in non-farm payrolls in October was slightly below the consensus forecast at 235,000, this was still, on the whole, a strong employment report. A massive 638,000 surge in the alternative household survey measure of employment pushed the unemployment rate down to only 5.8%,” Paul Ashworth at Capital Economics wrote in a note to clients following the release of the report.