The U.S. added 261,000 jobs in October, "its fewest since December 2020," The Wall Street Journal reports Friday, per the U.S. Labor Department. The unemployment rate also rose to 3.7 percent.
The October report managed to demonstrate the economy's overall resilience, with jobs gains nonetheless beating economists' expectations despite the Federal Reserve's inflation-fighting interest rate hikes, The New York Times notes. The numbers also afforded voters' a "final glimpse" at the economy before next week's midterm elections, and "will almost certainly make [their] way into both parties' closing pitches ... ."
But the Fed, which is working to cool the economy and combat decades-high inflation, "will take little comfort from the report," the Journal writes, per economist Augustine Faucher. Yes, there are some signs of economic slowdown, but nothing yet pronounced enough to appease the central bank. For one thing, wage growth is still an inflationary pain point, despite having moderated slightly.
"Even though the labor market is strong, this means that a recession is more likely rather than less because it means the Fed is going to end up raising rates even more," Faucher told the Journal.
"What I see in this [report] is the imprint of beginning weakness," Diane Swonk of KPMG, told the Times. "But it's not enough to derail the Fed."