US sees strong jobs growth as wages edge higher

Firms added 531,000 jobs and the unemployment rate fell slightly to 4.6%, official figures showed.

Hiring figures for September were also revised upwards.

The spread of the Delta variant and slower growth had suppressed hiring over the summer, along with an apparent reluctance from parts of the workforce to return to work.

That has left many employers scrambling for staff and struggling to meet growing demand. Many are raising wages to attract and retain staff. Figures from the Bureau for Labor Statistics showed average private sector wages rose modestly in October, by 11 cents, to $30.96 an hour, but the rise adds to six months of strong wage increases.

The 4.9% growth in average earnings over the past year doesn’t outpace annual inflation, which was running at 5.4% in September.

Revised data for September showed that many more jobs were created that month, 312,000, than the 197,000 initially reported.

Figures for August were also revised upwards from 366,000 to 483,000.

There were notable gains in leisure and hospitality, in professional and business services, in manufacturing, and in transportation and warehousing, the Bureau said.

Taken together the data shows a strong upward trend, although jobs growth is still below the rates seen in the first half of the year.