Jobs growth came in better than expected in October thanks in part to strong gains in the manufacturing, health care and professional and business services sectors.
Manufacturing jobs increased by 32,000 last month, boosted by gains in the durable goods industry, according to the Labor Department. That advance brought the sector’s average monthly job gain for the year to 37,000, compared with 30,000 per month in 2021.
Some market participants found the increase notable given the sharp slowdown in goods spending in the economy this year, as consumers shift more of their spending to services.
“The manufacturing gain of 32,000 suggest the economy is far from slowing in a meaningful way,” TradeStation Group’s David Russell wrote in a Friday note.
The health care and social assistance sector also enjoyed strong gains, adding 71,100 jobs last month. By itself, the health care sector gained 53,000 jobs in October, boosted by growth in ambulatory health care services, as well as nursing and residential care facilities.
According to the Labor Department, employment in health care rose by an average 47,000 per month in 2022, far outpacing the 9,000 jobs gains posted per month last year.
“People delayed a lot of procedures because of Covid for the last couple of years, so hip replacements and things that were somewhat optional,” said Horizon Investments’ Scott Ladner. “We’re starting to see a surge of those procedures come back.”
Leisure and hospitality employment, meanwhile, continued its upward trend, adding 35,000 jobs in October. Jobs growth in the sector was mainly driven by an increase in accommodation jobs, which added 20,000 last month. Jobs in restaurants and drinking establishments remained little changed, up 6,000.
The sector is still down by 1.1 million jobs, or 6.5%, from its pre-pandemic level, according to the Labor Department.
Professional and business services also was a standout sector, adding 39,000 jobs in October.
Several sectors lagged those areas in the October jobs report, however. Financial activities gained just 3,000, as employment in the sector has “changed little” over the past six months, the Labor Department said. Construction added just 1,000 jobs in October.
The retail trade sector was also little changed heading into the holiday season, adding just 7,200 jobs.