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October jobs report bucks expectations but healthcare growth weakens

The healthcare industry continued to gain jobs in October but at a lower rate than average

Bucking expectations, the nation’s employment rose by 204,000 in October and the unemployment rate rose from 7.2 percent in September to 7.3 percent, reported the Bureau of Labor Statistics on Friday. The healthcare industry continued to add jobs, but at a lower rate than has been the average through 2013.

The healthcare industry added more than 15,000 jobs in October, slightly lower than its average of 17,000 jobs per month this year, and far less than the average monthly gain of 27,000 jobs per month in 2012. No losses were reported in the various sectors within healthcare, although nursing care facilities neither gained nor lost jobs. The sectors with the biggest gains were physician offices (3,500), home healthcare services (2,800) and hospitals (2,200).

[See also: September jobs report underwhelming]

Industries with the most job growth in October included leisure and hospitality (53,000), retail trade (44,000), professional and technical services (more than 21,000) and manufacturing (19,000).

Federal government employment continues to decline, dropping by 12,000 in October. Federal employees that were furloughed during the partial government shutdown were considered employed for the payroll survey conducted by the BLS because they worked or received pay for the pay period that included the 12th of the month, BLS noted in its employment report.

Economic forecasts for the October employment had been gloomy on the expectation that the partial government shutdown would greatly impact the employment numbers, but not only were the October figures better than expected, the BLS revised August and September numbers upwards. Total nonfarm payroll employment for August was revised from 193,00 to 238,000 and for September from 148,000 to 163,000.

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