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October Jobs Day

Jobs day is once again on the horizon — on Friday, the Labor Department will give the latest estimate of how the labor market fared in October.

Economists anticipate that we'll learn employers added 240,000 jobs to the economy in October, according to estimates from Bloomberg. That's not far off from the 248,000 added in September, according to last month's estimate.

This kind of job growth shows that things have sped up moderately — over the last year, the economy has averaged around 220,000 new jobs per month. A year ago, that figure would have been around 200,000. But in general, job growth since the downturn has been coming at a slow, steady, and altogether unremarkable pace.

One other datapoint to watch will be what happened to wages in October. Despite the slowly improving labor market, wages haven't risen much yet. Presumably, once unemployment falls enough and there's less oversupply of labor, wages should start to rise. But over the past year it hasn't happened.

Wages

(Source: Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis)

This may mean there's still plenty of slack to take up before wages rise again. The maddening problem is no economist really knows for sure how far off that is.